Forget comments that go straight to your DMs. Instagram is testing a new way to react to Stories that is much simpler, and it involves emoji.
Right now, the options to respond to a Story are limited: You can only reply to the person who posted the Story, or share the post with another friend via Direct. But the feature some users are seeing allows them to quickly react to a post by choosing from a set of emoji. (This way of responding is similar to the "reaction" emoji that Instagram's parent company, Facebook, introduced in 2016.) Only the person who posted the Story will see those emoji reactions, which appear when they swipe up to see their Stories viewer list, rather than their Direct inbox.
A Reddit user first posted about the feature after seeing a fire emoji in their list of Story viewers. Instagram confirmed to Refinery29 that the feature is being tested in select countries. "We are testing a way to make it easier to interact and get closer with your friends Instagram," a spokesperson said.
If the feature is rolled out to the masses, it will be a welcome opportunity to engage with someone's Story without sending them a DM. Chances are, you're already replying to some Stories with emoji, so the new tool would eliminate the need to clog up someone's inbox.