Facebook, Instagram add tools to limit time spent on the apps

You'll be able to set daily limits and mute push notifications -- as tech addiction becomes a bigger issue.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read
Screenshots of the Facebook app.

Facebook (above) and Instagram will try to help you manage your time on the apps.


Facebook's and Instagram's newest features? Tools to help you spend less time on Facebook and Instagram.

Social networking giant Facebook, which owns Instagram, unveiled new additions Wednesday aimed at letting people better manage their time on the apps. One new feature will let you see a dashboard that tells you how much time you've spent on Facebook or Instagram that day.

Another tool lets you set daily limits for yourself. Once you've hit that ceiling, you'll get an alert. You'll also be able to mute push notifications for anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours at a time.

On Facebook, you can control those tools in a new section of the settings called "Your Time on Facebook." On Instagram, they'll be in the settings under "Your Activity."

Watch this: Facebook, Instagram try to take on digital addiction

"We want the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive and inspiring," Ameet Ranadive, product management director at Instagram, and David Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook, said in a statement. "Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them."


On Instagram, the tools can be found in the settings under "My Activity." 


The update arrives as Silicon Valley has begun to come to terms with some of the negative consequences of its products. Tech addiction has become a serious issue -- people check their phones an average of 47 times a day, according to a survey by Deloitte released in November.

In addition to trying to fight fake news and abuse on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has preached a mantra of "time well spent" on the social network, instead of focusing on the overall amount of time people spend on the service. Earlier this year, the company overhauled the news feed to prioritize posts from family and friends over viral videos and news.

For Facebook, which makes money from marketers that use people's personal data to aim specific ads at them, encouraging folks to spend time off the app could mean business takes a hit. The company has already been feeling the burn when it comes to financials; last week, Facebook said it missed Wall Street's sales and user growth estimates for the first time in years, and its stock took the biggest single day plunge in history.

Facebook isn't the only tech giant putting safeguards in its products to make sure people don't spend too much time using them. In May, Google introduced similar time management tools for the next version of its Android operating system, which powers almost nine out of every 10 smartphones on the planet. A month later, Apple unveiled the same kind of features for iPhones.

Senate Holds Hearing On Foreign Influence On Social Media Platforms
Watch this: Lawmakers ask tech execs to testify again, Facebook, Instagram add digital detox tools

iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.

Logging Out: Welcome to the crossroads of online life and the afterlife.