By Ameet Ranadive, Product Management Director at Instagram, and David Ginsberg, Director of Research at Facebook
Facebook are announcing new tools to help people manage their time on Facebook and Instagram: an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a new way to limit notifications.
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.
We have a responsibility to help people understand how much time they spend on our platforms so they can better manage their experience. In December 2017, we shared insights about what the team at Facebook is doing to create experiences that help people connect and build relationships.
Additional Tools Although we have more work to do, over the past year, we’ve introduced a number of tools to help people better control their experience on Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, we improved News Feed quality to show people the most relevant posts with features like See First, 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.
We also have an ongoing, global commitment to suicide prevention, including the expansion of proactive detection and improvement of first responder identification. Our approach was developed in collaboration with mental health organizations such as Save.org and with input from people who have had personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide.
Community Outreach In March, we convened our Facebook Safety Summit, with more than 100 organizations, researchers, experts and teens to talk about a wide range of topics — from issues of safety and technology, to how tech is impacting our well-being. We’ve also partnered with Scholastic and Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to develop and launch “Best Selves” social and emotional learning curriculum designed to give teachers easy to use lessons that help students develop pro-social behaviors; and worked with Stand for Children, Harvard’s Making Caring Common and other experts to develop “kindness” curriculum and launch Kind Schools Challenge which enrolls middle schools in teaching 30 days of kindness curriculum.
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.