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Facebook Wants to Help You Break Your Cellphone Addiction

You can now track time spent, set limits, and mute notifications
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2018 5:08 PM CDT
The Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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(Newser) – Facebook and its photo sharing property, Instagram, are rolling out new features designed to help mobile app users spend less time scrolling mindlessly through news feeds. That's right, the folks who draw so many of us in with notifications for every message, like, comment, and more now want us to put the phone down. At least for a little while. Per the Verge, new dashboard functions allow users to see how much time they've spent in the apps, set limits on usage time, and snooze those enticing notifications for a set amount of time (up to eight hours). The move is a bid by the social media behemoth to address growing concerns about the negative impacts too much screen time can have on users.

Doesn't Facebook make money from me staring at my phone as much as possible, you ask? Yes, but Facebook might be betting that more controlled (read: less habitual) use of its app might cut down on that fatigue we've all felt after finding ourselves scrolling for hours each day. By that logic, the company could be hoping that users will have a more positive takeaway when they do use the app. It's all summed up with an increasingly common buzz term in the social media sphere: "time well spent." It's a term Instagram product director Ameet Ranadive used in explaining the new feature to Recode. "It’s really important for people that use Instagram and Facebook to feel like the time that they spend with us is time well spent," Ranadive said. "That’s the whole purpose of this release.” (Read more Facebook stories.)

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