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Instagram wants you to know when you’re wasting time in its app

CEO Kevin Systrom says Instagram is building tools to help users learn more about how they spend time in the app.

Published onMay 16, 2018

The Instagram app on Pixel 2.
  • Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has confirmed that the company is building tools to help users understand how they spend time in its app.
  • This is likely to come in the form of a dedicated “Usage Insights” menu.
  • YouTube also recently introduced measures to help users control how they use its app.

Instagram is working on features designed to help users better understand how they interact with the app. In a Tweet, the CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom said, “We’re building tools that will help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram — any time should be positive and intentional.”

We’re building tools that will help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram – any time should be positive and intentional.
— Kevin S. (@kevin) May 16, 2018

The tools that Systrom mentions are likely to include a “Usage Insights” menu. First spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, this feature could include measurements such as time spent on the app, and it may show up in a new sidebar.

We don’t yet know how exactly what this feature will offer (or when it will roll out), but it may mean that Instagram can identify usage which is of a more habitual nature — like glancing at the app when anxious or “without thinking” — and when users open the app with a more specific intent.

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Online usage habits are becoming a big issue and Instagram isn’t alone in considering features to help control app usage.

Just last week, Google said that it would begin to focus on its users’ “digital wellbeing.” Soon after, the new version of the YouTube app started rolling out with features that allow users control the amount of time they spent on the app. These include the ability to set up a reminder to take a break, the ability to turn off all notifications for a set amount of time, and the option to get all notifications once a day at a specific time.

The upcoming version of Android is also expected to come with an Android Dashboard that will show users information about the time they spend on their phone and the apps that they use.

Next up: How to tweak your Instagram privacy settings

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