Instagram is rolling out a new feature that lets you like someone's IG Story without bombarding their DM, called Private Story Likes. Before this, if you react to an IG Story whether with an emoji or a message, a notification will pop out in the person's DM.
"So now as you go through Stories, between send message and that little paper airplane, there will be a heart icon," said Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri in a video on Twitter. "And if you tap on it, it’ll send the author of that story a like, and that like will show up in the viewer sheet, not in your DM thread with them."
Unlike your feed posts, Stories won't show like counts but you can still see who liked your Stories in the Stories view sheet.