Facebook and Instagram inform users of media habits – Info PR
On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it was rolling out tools that will
show users the average daily time spent on Facebook and/or Instagram on
your device. You can set alerts to limit your time on either platform or
mute push notifications, helping you to better focus.
All but 1 percent of Facebook and Instagram users will have access to these
features in the next few weeks (the remainder are being kept from them for
Ameet Ranadive, product management director at Instagram, and David
Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook,
wrote in a Facebook blog post:
… We developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from
leading mental health experts and organizations, academics, our own
extensive research and feedback from our community. We want the time people
spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive and inspiring.
Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they
spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and
teens about the online habits that are right for them.
To access the tools, go to the settings page on either app. On Instagram
tap “Your Activity,” and on Facebook, tap “Your Time on Facebook.” At the
top, you’ll see a dashboard showing your average time for that app on that
device. Tap any bar to see your total time for that day. Below the
dashboard, you can set a daily reminder to give yourself an alert when
you’ve reached the amount of time you want to spend on that app for that
day. You can change or cancel the reminder at any time. You can also tap on
“Notification Settings” to quickly access the new “Mute Push Notifications”
setting. This will limit your Facebook or Instagram notifications for a
period of time when you need to focus.
The new tools are the latest moves Facebook and Instagram have made to help
improve users’ experience and address concerns.
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Ranadive and Ginsberg wrote:
… On Facebook, we improved News Feed quality to show people the
most relevant posts
with features like
Hide, Unfollow, and
Keyword Snooze. On Instagram, we launched powerful tools to
proactively care for the community — like the “You’re All Caught Up”
message in Feed, keyword filtering, sensitivity screens, and offensive
comment and bullying filters.
However, Facebook isn’t the first to introduce a “time spent” feature.
It’s hard not to see this as bandwagon-jumping on the part of Facebook.
Earlier this summer, Google and Apple each introduced a similar suite of
tools, which give users more granular control of notifications and screen
time. Those initiatives seemed to remind people that it’s not your phone that’s the problem—it’s all the junk on it that continually
distracts you and wastes your time.
Google’s Digital Wellness
Apple’s Screen Time
tools both aim to neuter apps like Facebook and Instagram, which stand in
the center of the dopamine vortex on our phones. Now, Facebook and
Instagram want to position themselves as allies—not enemies—in that
It might seem counterproductive for the company to share with its users
exactly how much time they’re spending on Facebook and Instagram,
the wake of its recent stock drop—the largest single-day market decline in history. However, Facebook’s chief said the company is putting its users over its
The news comes as
Facebook’s stock is struggling
to recover from last week’s second-quarter earnings report in which it
lowered its outlook on revenue and raised its forecast for expenses.
On an earnings call last November,
CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said: “I want to be clear about what our priority
is. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our
Ranadive and Ginsberg wrote:
It’s not just about the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram but how
they spend that time. It’s our responsibility to talk openly about how time
online impacts people — and we take that responsibility seriously. These
new tools are an important first step, and we are committed to continuing
our work to foster safe, kind and supportive communities for everyone.
However compelling Zuckerberg’s statement is—or how touching the comments
Ranadive and Ginsberg made to back it up—Facebook’s announcement also
follows more negative news about how the platform continues to struggle
with fake news, clickbait and trolls bent on political influence.
The rollout comes a day after Facebook revealed new evidence of dangers
lurking on the social media platform. In advance of the U.S. midterm
elections, the company
of a political influence campaign and removed 32 accounts and pages from
Facebook and Instagram. Though company officials said it was unclear who
might be behind the effort, an
from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab said that “an
initial scan shows behavioral patterns and use of language reminiscent of
the troll operations run from Russia in 2014 through 2017.”
It’s not only recent crises that have plagued the social media platform,
It’s useful to remember this [comes] after the year Facebook’s had, which
the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a
two-day Congressional hearing, news of a compromised election, admitted influence from Russian trolls,
repeated problems with
20 percent plummet in stock
, and, you know,
accusations of inciting genocide.
Some reporters pointed out that the effort won’t make that big of a
difference to Facebook or Instagram users, either.
Giving users a raw count of the minutes they’ve spent in their apps each
day in the last week plus their average across the week is a good start to
making users more mindful. But by burying them largely out of sight, giving
them no real way to compel less usage and not distinguishing between
passive and active behavior, they seem destined to be ignored while missing
the point the company itself stresses.
It’s an especially important consideration for younger users. Though a
recent Pew Research study
revealed a 20 percent drop in teenage Facebook users from 2014-2015, many teens are turning to social media apps, namely Instagram.
What do you think of the new tools for Facebook and Instagram?
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp