According to this article submitted to Vice which quotes another article sent to BuzzFeed News, Instagram and Facebook’s well-being team is going to update the apps to help users manage how much time they are using on each platform in an effort “to address the documented negative body image, loneliness, anxiety, and general depression users have reported feeling after spending a lot of time on both apps” and to improve public relations after all the scandals.
Specifically, to quote the article directly, “Facebook and Instagram will soon feature dashboards that can show you a breakdown of your daily activity on the apps, and how long, on average, you’ve spent on each that week on your phone, BuzzFeed News reports.”
Users can set time limits for how much time they want to spend on each app which will prompt a “daily reminder” to let them know when that time is up. They can also mute push notifications for up to eight hours which for the technologically illiterate such as myself means users will not see pop-ups from the apps on their home screens but will receive notifications only when opening the app.
The BuzzFeed News article gives step-by-step instructions on how to set these reminders for each mobile app, but the updates do not apply to browsing Facebook on a computer.
Ameet Ranadive, the head of Instagram’s well-being team, said during a press conference that the goal of these new features is “to help people be more mindful and intentional about how much time they’re spending on Facebook and Instagram, and really give them that power and control over how and when they want to engage.”
The new features will roll out in updates over the next few weeks, but whether these updates will improve anyone’s mental health, or at the very least, get anyone to spend less time scrolling through these apps is anyone’s guess.