Remember when Mark Zuckerberg went big on ‘time well spent’? Instagram introduced the ability for users to impose a hard limit on their usage of the app if they felt they were in it too much.
Well, as TechCrunch reported this week, Meta appeared to think those limiting their Instagram usage were limiting it too much:
Previously the company supported a user-defined limit for Instagram that could be as low as 15 minutes — or even 10 minutes — per day, when it was making a big PR push to suggest that more ‘mindful’ usage of its services was possible, as concern over social media addiction surged.
But it seems the attention-loving adtech giant now wants Instagram users to spend longer eyeballing content feeds on the photo- and video-sharing platform where it can cash in by targeting them with ads. Which could be a result of pressure from the business side to eke out growth…
Thus we now have options to limit time in the app to no less than 30 minutes per day, graduating up to a three-hour limit.
Meta later told TechCrunch that it now lets users additionally ‘take a break’ from the app for periods as short as 10 minutes, but the fact this wasn’t clearly communicated with users of the existing daily time limit feature does kind of suggest that Meta values its business more than your wellbeing.
A more generous interpretation would be that the communications were simply messed up, but either way, user wellbeing clearly doesn’t get as high a priority at Meta as it perhaps should.