Instagram and Facebook to introduce time-limiting feature

Posted on August 2, 2018


Two of the world’s largest social networking platforms, Facebook and Instagram, are looking at implementing new tools that would help users of the sites better manage the time they spend on the them.

The announcement has been made amidst concerns that excessive use of social media sites can impact negatively on mental health.

As a result, the sites are to release tools that will allow users to check how much time they have spent on each app via a dedicated dashboard containing this information. Users will also have the ability to set themselves a time limit for how long they can spend on these sites. They would receive a notification informing them when they have reached the set limit to be spent on these sites for the day. They would also be able to mute notifications for a set period of time.

In a blog post announcement from David Ginsberg of Facebook and Ameet Ranadive of Instagram, the tools have been developed based on a collaboration with mental health specialists, as well as academics, organisations, research conducted by the two social sites and feedback from users.

The companies want the time spent on the sites by users to be inspiring, intentional and positive. Both parties hope that the tools will give users more control over how much they use the platforms.

Once the update has been implemented, to find these tools, simply go to the settings pages of either site and these will be listed as ‘Your Time on Facebook’, and on Instagram as ‘Your Activity’.

Back in January this year, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that he wanted the site to go back to basics and ensure that users are seeing posts and updates from their families and friends instead of regurgitated corporate content. One of the ways in which Zuckerberg plans to do this is to make sure that time spent on the site is “time well spent”. This includes ensuring that users have a positive experience while on the site and are protected from online abuse and political propaganda.

The two sites are facing pressure to act quickly, as both Google and Apple have also announced similar features to be built in to upcoming versions of the respective Android and iOS operating systems. These are supposed to give users the ability to permanently mute notifications instead of the temporary notification disability Facebook and Instagram are going to offer.

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Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
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