In case you missed it, your favorite photo-sharing app launched its own Stories, a brand new addition that resembles Snapchat's feature of the same name. The surprising Instagram update allows you to keep your followers apprised of your of-the-moment happenings without risking oversharing or disrupting your well-manicured feeds. With the advent of the feature, a big question on my mind is: Can you see who views your Instagram Stories? I mean, if you can, that kind of changes your whole Instagram Stories game, right?
Traditionally, Instagram hasn't allowed users to know exactly which followers view a video post in their feed unless the user chooses to like it. Video view counts rolled out in 2016, giving Instagrammers more insight into the popularity of their posts independent from likes. Still, who the views are coming from remains a mystery. On the other hand, Snapchat shows its users exactly who has viewed each section of their Stories, and it looks like Instagram has taken a cue from the Story-making forerunner in developing its own take. With Instagram Stories, you can see exactly who views your Story.
Once your Instagram Story is up and going, you'll begin collecting views over the next 24 hours it's available. Unlike Instagram videos, which will show you a total view count, but not the names of the individuals who have viewed each one, Instagram Stories lets you see exactly who has taken a look. And, what's more, you can even edit their viewing settings once they've watched your Story (or from your Settings).
According to the Instagram Help Center, you start by going to your Story — you can do so by clicking your icon at the top left of your feed — and swipe up. Next to an eyeball image, Instagram will give you a count of just how many eyes have witnessed your creation, as well as exactly who. Scroll down to see more people. As the Help Center notes, you're the only one who can see who's viewed your story.
Bonus: Instagram also provides curated options regarding who can even see your Stories to begin with. After you've created your Instagram Story, you click on the Story itself, and swipe up to view who's seen it once again. Once you find the username of the person you'd like to hide the story from, you click the three horizontal dots located just to the right of their name. From there, as the Instagram Help Center explains, you can select "Hide Story From [Username]." As the Help Center emphasizes, hiding your story from a user is not the same thing as blocking them entirely.
Another option, the Instagram Help Center explains, is selecting the three-line icon on your profile, clicking on "Settings," and tapping "Privacy," then "Story." From there you can tap on whoever you'd like to hide your Story from and finally select "Done." This way, all of your future Stories will be hidden from the selected users until you go back into Settings and change them.
As of November 2018, you can also choose to only share Instagram Stories with your Close Friends. To make the list, click on the three horizontal lines at the top right of your profile, select "Close Friends," and get started. From then on, your Close Friends' profile picture will have a green star next to it. And when you post a Story only to your Close Friends, they'll see a green ring around your profile photo as opposed to the usual purple and orange ring.
So go ahead and give it a go! Though there's currently no way to know how many times someone has played your Story back, you might be surprised by who is not-so-secretly checking out your Instagram.