Instagram today announced a new update, adding the option to disable comments and the introduction of likes on comments.
Under the heading of 'Keeping Instagram Safe', the ability to disable comments is clearly aimed at offering some protection for those that might be subject to online abuse. Comments can be subsequently re-enabled. The setting is available under 'Advanced Settings' and only at an account level rather than for an individual post.
Take a look at any comments on one of your posts and there is now a small heart next to each one. There is also a 'Reply' button under each comment, and a count of the number of likes that the comment has received. An unnecessary addition? Maybe, but it could encourage more commenting and at least provides an easy way to recognize the comments on your posts without replying to each one.