Instagram has worked on several experimental features in an effort to make it a safer space for teenagers and young adults. Today, Instagram has officially launched the “Take a Break” feature with more safeguarding tools to follow next year.
Instagram and Facebook have been under the microscope in recent months following the damning evidence revealed by whistleblower France Haugen earlier this year. Since then, the company has put resources into initiatives that focus on the safety of the app’s users — something that Haugen accused the tech giant of neglecting in favor of profits during her testimony.
PetaPixel reported on the “Take a Break” feature when it was first introduced in October, followed by wider testing in November. The feature has been designed to reduce the time spent on the app by encouraging the user to step away from it.
The new feature has been rolled out in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, Engadget reports. Users will be able to opt in to receive reminders after having spent a certain amount of time on Instagram, such as after 10, 20, or 30 minutes of scrolling through the app.
Instagram is also testing a feature that allows users to bulk delete photos and videos on their feed, including all likes and comments. So far, users have to delete their posts one by one or deactivate their whole account in order to achieve this. The option will be available to all users in January of 2022.
In March, Instagram also says it will be launching tools for parents and guardians that will give them visibility into the amount of time their kids are spending on the app and be able to set limits.
The company is also still expanding on security measures that include a feature prohibiting adults from direct messaging to teenagers who don’t follow them. The app will add an option to forbid adults from tagging or mentioning teens who don’t follow them.
Another feature aimed at young users is limiting sensitive content consumed by teens by nudging them towards a different topic if they’ve been engrossed in one topic for a prolonged period. This is something still in the works for Instagram as it explores building this kind of experience for users.
The few safeguarding features that have launched and this announcement come ahead of testimony before Congress by Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri, likely in a bid to curry goodwill and show that the company is making changes.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, the Tennessee Republican who co-chairs the Senate subcommittee that will host Mosseri on Wednesday, wasn’t convinced about Instagram’s latest initiatives according to Forbes.
“[These changes] will do little to substantively make their products safer for kids and teens. But my colleagues and I see right through what they are doing,” she says.