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Facebook, Instagram Launch Tools to Curb Your Social Media Addiction

By on August 8, 2018

Following in Apple’s and Google’s footsteps, Facebook is launching a new set of so-called “digital health” tools built into its own platforms.

The new features will be available on both the primary Facebook app, as well as on Instagram, which the social media company owns. They are just starting to see a general roll out as of Wednesday via an app update.

That suite of digital health tools include reports on how much time is spent in an app, a way of muting notifications, and a reminder system that’ll let users know when they’ve reached their self-designated app usage limit, CNN reported.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Apple and Google have already debuted similar digital health features — Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing, respectively. But Facebook’s solution is baked right into the app.

On the other hand, they won’t be available for Facebook Messenger of the desktop version of the social media sites quite yet. Facebook’s head communication, Gretchen Sloan, said in a press briefing that those are coming soon.

In that same press conference, Sloan added that “as we learn about how people’s relationship with media technologies impact their wellbeing, we’re looking for ways to help give people more control.”

Image via Facebook

When they become available, the features — which are called by different names depending on platform — will be accessible in the Settings menu for Facebook and Instagram.

Unlike Apple’s and Google’s solution, the Facebook activity monitor will be device-specific. That means you’ll have to add up the totals for your different smartphones and tablets. At least at launch.

It also won’t track historical data — just daily and weekly reports. Because of that, it will be difficult for users to see how their app usage behavior changes over time. Getting off Facebook is also left up to users.

Facebook is only the latest tech giant to get ideas from the so-called “Time Well Spent” movement, but this isn’t the first related feature. It says the activity features go hand-in-hand with a new News Feed algorithm that will prioritize content that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions.”

“We want people’s time (on Facebook) to be intentional and meaningful — that’s actually good for the business,” Sloan said.