Instagram has quietly raised the time limit in its activity tab that allows the app to send a notification after users have spent a fixed amount of time engrossed in its social media world daily. The idea is to keep digital addiction at bay and promote a healthy online experience. Or, in the words of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “time well spent” on social media platforms like Facebook. Zuckerberg promoted the idea in a lengthy blog post back in 2018.
And ever since, both Instagram and Facebook have added features that aim to limit the daily screen time and nudge users to take a break. The idea seems counterintuitive to each app’s fundamental business model, both of which rely on engagement to serve ads and make millions of dollars each year. In fact, leaked internal research from a whistleblower revealed that Facebook knew about its users’ compulsive social media usage pattern that bordered on the edge of addiction. Independent studies have also come with similar findings on Instagram.
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However, it appears that Instagram is backtracking on its commitment towards a healthy social media interaction. The app’s Set Daily Time Limit feature has so far allowed users to set a daily time limit of as low as 10 minutes and up to three hours. Once that limit is breached, the app sends a notification to alert users. First spotted by TechCrunch, Instagram has now raised the minimum daily usage limit to 30 minutes, while the ceiling remains the same. Instagram later confirmed that it had changed the daily time limit figures, claiming that it was done to avoid sending multiple notifications. However, the official Instagram Comms handle on Twitter went on a defensive mode on Twitter, adding that the company already offers a similar feature called Take A Break for users who want to keep their social media usage in check.
We changed the ‘daily limit’ options to avoid sending people multiple notifications at the same time. More on ‘Take A Break’ here: https://t.co/5kj0RInU05
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) February 21, 2022
There’s Still A Way Around
Even though Instagram has changed the daily limit numbers, it doesn’t make a difference as long as users are aware of the newer Take A Break feature. But folks who aren’t familiar with the latter, there is a slight learning curve that takes about two to three taps to master. Instagram users who aren’t familiar with either feature should try them out. To set a time limit, open the profile page by tapping on the profile icon on the home page. On the profile page, tap on the hamburger menu in the top-right corner, and select Your Activity. On the Your Activity page, tap on Time Spent, followed by selecting the Set daily time limit option. Once there, users can choose between 30 minutes, 45 minutes, one hour, two hours and three hours as their Instagram usage limit before the app alerts them.
However, not all hope is lost for folks who want to keep their daily usage limited to 10 minutes. Head over to the Time Spent page in the Your Activity center, select Set Reminder To Take Breaks, and choose between 10, 20 and 30 minutes. Once this feature has been enabled, Instagram will show a full-page break once they’ve spent the specified amount of time in one stretch. And to cut off from the social media world, Instagram will suggest activities such as taking some deep breaths, listening to a song, writing down one’s thoughts, or checking off items on the to-do list.