Meta-owned picture and video app, Instagram yesterday, November 7, 2021 added a new feature that urges teens to take breaks from the platform, while announcing other tools aimed at protecting young users from harmful content on the platform.
Adam Mosseri, Instagram head in a blog post said the ‘Take A Break’ feature encourages teens to stop scrolling if they have been on the social media platform for a while, with the feature already rolled-out to the U.S., United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on Tuesday and according to him, it would reach the rest of the world early next year.
The blog post said the young users will begin to see notifications on the new feature, while reminding them to take more breaks going forward. The new feature can be said to be one of Meta platforms move to shut out harmful contents on its platforms, especially as it affects the younger generation amid the new legislation Meta faces as part of authorities restriction on tech giants.
Facebook now Meta has been embroiled in series of litigations and controversies this year, most notable of them are the allegations leveled against the Mark Zuckerberg owned company by a whistleblower-cum former employee, Frances Haugen. She had testified before the U.S Congress and European parliament of how Meta own internal research had suggested that peer pressure generated by Instagram has led to mental health and body-image problems in young users, especially girls, and in some cases, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. She also accused Meta of favoring profit over the interest of its users.
Haugen again last week spoke to members of Congress, urging them to continue with proposals that included restrictions on the long-standing legal protections for speech posted on social media platforms. She also offered guidance on new online rules that are much further along in the U.K. and European Union, which has pioneered efforts to rein in big technology companies.
Instagram also announced yesterday the roll out of a tool for parents that allows them see the length of time their teens spend on the picture and video app. According to Instagram, the first tools will come out early 2022.
It also announced its developing features that will disallow users from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them, stop people from nudging users to other things if they have been focused on one topic for a while and be stricter about what posts, hashtags and accounts it recommends to try to cut down on potentially harmful or sensitive content.