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Facebook and Instagram will allow users to cap their time spent on the social networks, Facebook announced on Wednesday. Each will have a dashboard that spells out your usage patterns, the ability to set a reminder after you've spent a customizable amount of time in the app, and new ways to limit push notifications. "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", writes Facebook's director of research, David Ginsberg, and Instagram's product management director, Ameet Ranadive, on Facebook's news blog. Facebook says it wants the time people spend on its apps to be intentional, positive and inspiring. Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms. On Instagram tap "Your Activity", and on Facebook, tap "Your Time on Facebook". The features will soon be available in Facebook's mobile apps, though exact launch dates haven't yet been specified.

To access the tools, go to the settings page on either app.

Facebook's and Instagram's newest features?

No matter which app you use, you will see a bar chart showing your in-app time as well as the ability to manage notifications in order to prevent excessive usage of the apps. Tap any bar to see your total time for that day.

You might think you're only spending a few minutes reading friends' status update and looking at celebrities' vacation pics, but if you tend to check back every hour or so, those minutes will add up. "It strikes me as a way to balance their corporate interest of keeping people spending as much time as possible on Facebook, while still being responsive to people who find the continual notifications to be disturbing or distracting".

The aim of the feature is to give users better understanding of how much they are using both apps as well as allowing limits on in-app time to be set in an attempt to help curb addiction.


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