Starting this week, Facebook will begin asking users worldwide to review their privacy settings with a prompt that appears within the Facebook app. The experience will ask you to review how Facebook uses your personal data across a range of products, from ad targeting to facial recognition. This request to review Facebook’s updated terms and your settings follows a similar experience rolled out to users in the European Union as a result of the new user data privacy regulation, GDPR.
However, EU users have to agree to the new terms of service in order to continue using Facebook, Recode point out, after asking Facebook how the worldwide experience differs from the one being shown in Europe.
Elsewhere in the world, users who dismiss the prompt twice will be automatically opted in.
But before you close that window too quickly, you may want to take a look at what Facebook is asking.
In the new prompt, which appears when you visit News Feed, Facebook will allow you to review details about advertising, facial recognition, and the information you’ve chosen to share on your profile.
For example, you may no longer feel comfortable having your religion, political views or relationship information exposed, and the new experience will allow you to change those settings.
As you continue reviewing your information, each screen will walk you through what data is collected and how it’s used, allowing you to make better decisions about Facebook’s use of your data.
Specially, Facebook says the feature will include the following information:
How it uses data from partners to show more relevant advertising
Political, religious, and relationship information you’ve chosen to include on your profile
How it uses face recognition, including for features that help protect your privacy
Updates to its terms of service and data policy (that were announced in April)
If you’ve already disabled some of these settings, you won’t be shown that information or encouraged to turn the features back on.
After you adjust your settings, the changes go into effect immediately and you can adjust them again at any time from Settings or Privacy Shortcuts, the company says.
Though the GDPR is aimed at protecting user data in the EU, Facebook has come under fire for its breach of trust with its user base due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal – where data was hijacked from 87 million users without their consent. The company is now revisiting a lot of its user data privacy practices and making changes as result of both that and GDPR’s requirements.
The experience will start popping up on Facebook this week.
You’ll soon have more options for staying secure on Facebook with two-factor authentication.
Facebook is simplifying the process for two-factor verification on its platform so you won’t have to give the company your phone number just to bring additional security to your device. The company announced today that it is adding support for third-party authentication apps like Duo Security and Google Authenticator while streamlining the setup process to make it easier to get moving with it in the first place.
Two-factor authentication is a pretty widely supported security strategy that adds another line of defense for users so they aren’t screwed if their login credentials are compromised. SMS isn’t generally considered the most secure method for 2FA because it’s possible for hackers to take control of your SIM and transfer it to a new phone through a process that relies heavily on social engineering, something that isn’t as much of a risk when using hardware-based authentication devices or third-party apps.
Back in March, Facebook CSO Alex Stamos notably apologized after users started complaining that Facebook was spamming them on the phone numbers with which they had signed up for two-factor authentication. They insisted that it won’t happen again, but it also definitely won’t if they don’t have your number to begin with.
The new functionality is available in the “Security and Login” tab in your Facebook settings.
Mark Wilson writes: Following on from a trial in Australia, Facebook is rolling out anti-revenge porn measures to the UK. In order that it can protect British users from failing victim to revenge porn, the social network is asking them to send in naked photos of themselves. The basic premise of the idea is: send us nudes, and we'll stop others from seeing them
Facebook’s Groups are one of the social network’s most popular products, with more than 1.4 billion monthly users across tens of millions of active groups. Today, the company is rolling out a series of new features aimed at those who create and manage these groups, including customer support with answers and help provided by a real person, not a machine or automated responses. Admins are also getting a dedicated online education portal and more tools to manage their groups’ posts.
Unfortunately, the customer support service is not available to all groups at this time.
Facebook instead is beginning a pilot program for admin support that’s only available to a limited number of group admins on iOS and Android at this time, initially in English and Spanish.
“We spend a lot of time speaking with admins, and we listen to their feedback quite a lot,” explains Alex Deve, Product Management Director for Groups. “And the first thing we heard from them – very loud and clear – is that they want to be able to reach out to us and get a very quick response,” he says.
The free service will allow admins to send any issues they have to Facebook, and the company will respond within one business day. This is made possible by the additional hires the company made to expand its moderation team, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously announced, Deve notes.
The idea with the admin support isn’t just about helping admins out directly – it’s also about figuring out what their needs are, what troubles they have, and what features they want. This will help Facebook roll out new features for admins that they’ll find useful, but it also ties into another new product being announced today: an online educational center for admins.
At facebook.com/community, Facebook has collected best practices, tutorials, product demos, and case studies based on the experiences and expertise from the admin community, and is sharing it with others in the form of audio and video content. There are tips on things like growing groups, setting the rules, building a team, using group tools, managing conflicts, and more.
“Going forward, the support work is going to feed into this. [Facebook will learn] what other themes are very common that people want to hear about from other admins. So we’ll create more videos in the future,” says Deve.
Additionally, Facebook is rolling out two new admins tools today, created in response to user feedback.
The first will allow admins and moderators to notify a member whose post gets pulled down which group rule they broke that caused its removal. They’ll also be able to collaborate with other admins and moderators by adding notes in an activity log when they remove a post.
The other new feature, “pre-approved members,” will allow admins and moderators to select members whose content will automatically be approved whenever they post. This will save admins time by not having to moderate content from trusted people.
Groups have been a particular interest for Facebook in recent months, especially as the trend towards private networking and sharing continues to grow. At the company’s F8 Developer Conference in May, Facebook announced other features that will make Groups a more prominent part of the Facebook experience, as a result. This includes a new tab for Groups, where your groups are better organized and you can find others to join – similar to Facebook’s now-defunct standalone Groups app. And it introduced a new Groups plugin that admins could use on their websites or emails to solicit people to join their group.
All the new Groups features are rolling out starting today to about 20 percent of supported users, and will continue to roll out to the rest of the world in the weeks ahead. The online educational portal is live now in English, but will launch in Spanish in June.
Facebook is entering the home services market. Starting today, U.S. Facebook users browsing the Facebook Marketplace will be able to search thousands of home service professionals through a new feature that helps users locate top-rated and vetted professionals like house cleaners, plumbers, contractors, and others, as well as receive quotes.
The services experience will show up on Facebook’s Marketplace, but is populated with data from Facebook’s partners on this effort: Handy, HomeAdvisor, and Porch.
The company says the idea to launch a home services resource came about because people were always asking for recommendations for home pros on the network.
In fact, the number of people asking for home service recommendations in the U.S. is already well into the millions for the year, Facebook notes.
“More people ask for recommendations related to home services on Facebook in the U.S. than any other topic,” said Bowen Pan, Product Manager at Facebook, in a statement about the launch. “By partnering with Handy, HomeAdvisor, and Porch, people will now have a place on Marketplace to find the right professional to help with their next home project,” he said.
Through its partners, Facebook is able to provide access to hundreds of thousands of professionals, while also allowing users to see the professionals’ ratings, reviews, credentials, and location. Users can additionally request a quote right on the social networking site itself by describing their project, and sending it out to multiple professionals at once. The home service pros who respond can then communicate with the customer through Messenger to follow up on the lead.
The feature itself offers more than just a bunch of listings for users to sort through.
Instead, the main “Marketplace Services” page in Marketplace organizes pros into categories based around tasks, like “deep clean your home” or “get your backyard summer ready,” for example.
When users click on one of the prompts, they’re walked through a form to fill out other relevant data in order to find matching home pros. In the case of house cleaning, to continue the above example, a user would say how often they want a cleaning, how many bedrooms, the home’s square feet, and when they want the cleaning, along with other details. From the search results, they can then read all the service pro profiles and click a “Send” button to share their project request with those they choose. The service pro who follows up will respond on Messenger.
This is similar to what happens on Facebook today, though not in an organized a fashion. If you participate in any local group, you know it’s crammed with recommendation requests from other users – often the same request, repeatedly entered by different people at different times. (As no one ever thinks to use the Facebook Group’s search feature!).
The addition of home services to Marketplace may at least shift some of those inquires over to Marketplace. (Not all, though – personal recommendations from neighbors and friends will still be highly desired, even if pre-vetted home pro listings are available.)
The new offering is one of several category expansions for the Facebook Marketplace which is becoming one of the more viable challengers to Craigslist, thanks to other recent additions like home rentals and cars. And like those earlier expansions, Facebook pursued a similar strategy of working with partners to bring in these new listings.
Facebook, however, is not the only major tech company dabbling with home services.
But this is not the first time Facebook has taken aim at the home services market, either – back in December 2015, the company launched a local business search site at facebook.com/services which let users look for local businesses and organizations that met their needs, including across home services. This site was still live as of yesterday, but it never really took off or was known to most Facebook users. It seemed to be more of an experiment on Facebook’s part, and was focused on surfacing businesses with Facebook Pages – not a true home services destination.
The new effort involving third-party data from partners means home pros may start finding more of their leads come from Facebook. And as result, they may feel compelled to set up a Facebook Page if they haven’t already.
We’ve asked Facebook for further details as to if or how it’s sharing revenue from bookings with its partners, but the company declined to comment prior to publication.
As of last year, Marketplace had been growing at a rate of 18 million new listings per month. And search volume had increased threefold as of last October.
Facebook says the new feature is rolling out today, and will become available to all U.S. users in the weeks ahead in the Facebook app.
Speaking in front of EU lawmakers today Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg namechecked the GDPR’s core principles of “control, transparency and accountability” — claiming his company will deliver on all that, come Friday, when a new European Union data protection framework, GDPR, starts being applied, finally with penalties worth the enforcement.
However there was little transparency or accountability on show during the session, given the upfront questions format which saw Zuckerberg cherry-picking a few comfy themes to riff on after silently absorbing an hour of MEPs’ highly specific questions with barely a facial twitch in response.
The questions MEPs asked of Zuckerberg were wide ranging and often drilled deep into key pressure points around the ethics of Facebook’s business — ranging from how deep the app data misuse privacy scandal rabbithole goes; to whether the company is a monopoly that needs breaking up; to how users should be compensated for misuse of their data.
Made clear to Mark Zuckerberg that digital platforms have to guarantee full protection of our citizens' privacy. We cannot accept illicit use of personal data to manipulate elections. Democracy cannot be turned into a marketing operation. pic.twitter.com/Nk0MB5IK8u
Why did it refuse a public meeting with the EU parliament? Why has it spent “millions” lobbying against EU privacy rules? Will the company commit to paying taxes in the markets where it operates? What’s it doing to prevent fake accounts? What’s it doing to prevent bullying? Does it regulate content or is it a neutral platform?
Zuckerberg made like a sponge and absorbed all this fine-grained flak. But when the time came for responses the data flow was not reciprocal; Self-serving talking points on self-selected “themes” was all he had come prepared to serve up.
But when it comes to Facebook’s own operations, the company maintains a highly filtered, extremely partial ‘newsfeed’ on its business empire — keeping a tight grip on the details of what data it collects and why.
Yes, you can download the data you’ve willingly uploaded to Facebook. Just don’t expect Facebook to give you a download of all the information it’s gathered and inferred about you.
The EU parliament’s political group leaders seemed well tuned to the myriad concerns now flocking around Facebook’s business. And were quick to seize on Zuckerberg’s dumbshow as further evidence that Facebook needs to be ruled.
Thing is, in Europe regulation is not a dirty word. And GDPR’s extraterritorial reach and weighty public profile looks to be further whetting political appetites.
So if Facebook was hoping the mere appearance of its CEO sitting in a chair in Brussels, going through the motions of listening before reading from his usual talking points, that looks to be a major miscalculation.
“It was a disappointing appearance by Zuckerberg. By not answering the very detailed questions by the MEPs he didn’t use the chance to restore trust of European consumers but in contrary showed to the political leaders in the European Parliament that stronger regulation and oversight is needed,” Green MEP and GDPR rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht told us after the meeting.
The MEP had also asked Zuckerberg to commit to no exchange of data between the two apps. Zuckerberg determinedly made no such commitment.
Claude Moraes, chair of the EU parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs (Libe) committee, issued a slightly more diplomatic reaction statement after the meeting — yet also with a steely undertone.
“Trust in Facebook has suffered as a result of the data breach and it is clear that Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook will have to make serious efforts to reverse the situation and to convince individuals that Facebook fully complies with European Data Protection law. General statements like ‘We take privacy of our customers very seriously’ are not sufficient, Facebook has to comply and demonstrate it, and for the time being this is far from being the case,” he said.
“The Cambridge Analytica scandal was already in breach of the current Data Protection Directive, and would also be contrary to the GDPR, which is soon to be implemented. I expect the EU Data Protection Authorities to take appropriate action to enforce the law.”
Damian Collins, chair of the UK parliament’s DCMS committee, which has thrice tried and failed to get Zuckerberg to appear before it, did not mince his words at all. Albeit he has little reason to, having been so thoroughly rejected by the Facebook founder — and having accused the company of a pattern of evasive behavior to its CTO’s face — there’s clearly not much to hold out for now.
“What a missed opportunity for proper scrutiny on many crucial questions raised by the MEPs. Questions were blatantly dodged on shadow profiles, sharing data between WhatsApp and Facebook, the ability to opt out of political advertising and the true scale of data abuse on the platform,” said Collins in another reaction statement after the meeting. “Unfortunately the format of questioning allowed Mr Zuckerberg to cherry-pick his responses and not respond to each individual point.
“I echo the clear frustration of colleagues in the room who felt the discussion was shut down,” he added, ending with a fourth (doubtless equally forlorn) request for Zuckerberg to appear in front of the DCMS Committee to “provide Facebook users the answers they deserve”.
In the latter stages of today’s EU parliament session several MEPs — clearly very exasperated by the straightjacked format — resorted to heckling Zuckerberg to press for answers he had not given them.
“Shadow profiles,” interjected one, seizing on a moment’s hesitation as Zuckerberg sifted his notes for the next talking point. “Compensation,” shouted another, earning a snort of laughter from the CEO and some more theatrical note flipping to buy himself time.
Then, appearing slightly flustered, Zuckerberg looked up at one of the hecklers and said he would engage with his question — about shadow profiles (though Zuckerberg dare not speak that name, of course, given he claims not to recognize it) — arguing Facebook needs to hold onto such data for security purposes.
Zuckerberg did not specify, as MEPs had asked him to, whether Facebook uses data about non-users for any purposes other than the security scenario he chose to flesh out (aka “keeping bad content out”, as he put it).
He also ignored a second follow-up pressing him on how non-users can “stop that data being transferred”.
“On the security side we think it’s important to keep it to protect people in our community,” Zuckerberg said curtly, before turning to his lawyer for a talking point prompt (couched as an ask if there are “any other themes we wanted to get through”).
His lawyer hissed to steer the conversation back to Cambridge Analytica — to Facebook’s well-trodden PR about how they’re “locking down the platform” to stop any future data heists — and the Zuckbot was immediately back in action regurgitating his now well-practiced crisis PR around the scandal.
What was very clearly demonstrated during today’s session was the Facebook founder’s preference for control — that’s to say control which he is exercising.
Hence the fixed format of the meeting, which had been negotiated prior to Facebook agreeing to meet with EU politicians, and which clearly favored the company by allowing no formal opportunity for follow ups from MEPs.
Zuckerberg also tried several times to wrap up the meeting — by insinuating and then announcing time was up. MEPs ignored these attempts, and Zuckerberg seemed most uncomfortable at not having his orders instantly carried out.
Instead he had to sit and watch a micro negotiation between the EU parliament’s president and the political groups over whether they would accept written answers to all their specific questions from Facebook — before he was publicly put on the spot by president Antonio Tajani to agree to provide the answers in writing.
Although, as Collins has already warned MEPs, Facebook has had plenty of practice at generating wordy but empty responses to politicians’ questions about its business processes — responses which evade the spirit and specifics of what’s being asked.
The self-control on show from Zuckerberg today is certainly not the kind of guardrails that European politicians increasingly believe social media needs. Self-regulation, observed several MEPs to Zuckerberg’s face, hasn’t worked out so well has it?
The first MEP to lay out his questions warned Zuckerberg that apologizing is not enough. Another pointed out he’s been on a contrition tour for about 15 years now.
Facebook needs to make a “legal and moral commitment” to the EU’s fundamental values, he was told by Moraes. “Remember that you’re here in the European Union where we created GDPR so we ask you to make a legal and moral commitment, if you can, to uphold EU data protection law, to think about ePrivacy, to protect the privacy of European users and the many millions of European citizens and non-Facebook users as well,” said the Libe committee chair.
But self-regulation — or, the next best thing in Zuckerberg’s eyes: ‘Facebook-shaped regulation’ — was what he had come to advocate for, picking up on the MEPs’ regulation “theme” to respond with the same line he fed to Congress: “I don’t think the question here is whether or not there should be regulation. I think the question is what is the right regulation.”
“The Internet is becoming increasingly important in people’s lives. Some sort of regulation is important and inevitable. And the important thing is to get this right,” he continued. “To make sure that we have regulatory frameworks that help protect people, that are flexible so that they allow for innovation, that don’t inadvertently prevent new technologies like AI from being able to develop.”
He even brought up startups — claiming ‘bad regulation’ (I paraphrase) could present a barrier to the rise of future dormroom Zuckerbergs.
Of course he failed to mention how his own dominant platform is the attention-sapping, app gobbling elephant in the room crowding out the next generation of would-be entrepreneurs. But MEPs’ concerns about competition were clear.
Instead of making friends and influencing people in Brussels, Zuckerberg looks to have delivered less than if he’d stayed away — angering and alienating the very people whose job it will be to amend the EU legislation that’s coming down the pipe for his platform.
Ironically one of the few specific questions Zuckerberg chose to answer was a false claim by MEP Nigel Farage — who had wondered whether Facebook is still a “neutral political platform”, griping about drops in engagement for rightwing entities ever since Facebook’s algorithmic changes in January, before claiming, erroneously, that Facebook does not disclose the names of the third party fact checkers it uses to help it police fake news.
So — significantly, and as was also evident in the US Senate and Congress — Facebook was taking flak from both left and right of political spectrum, implying broad, cross-party support for regulating these algorithmic platforms.
Actually Facebook does disclose those fact checking partnerships. But it’s pretty telling that Zuckerberg chose to expend some of his oh-so-slender speaking time to debunk something that really didn’t merit the breath.
Farage had also claimed, during his three minutes, that without “Facebook and other forms of social media there is no way that Brexit or Trump or the Italian elections could ever possibly have happened”.
Funnily enough Zuckerberg didn’t make time to comment on that.
European lawmakers questioned Mark Zuckerberg in Brussels today for almost an hour and a half, asking him to address concerns about the Cambridge Analytica data leak and Facebook's potential monopoly. German MEP Manfred Weber asked whether the Facebook CEO could name a single European alternative to his "empire," which includes apps like WhatsApp and Instagram in addition to Facebook. "I think it's time to discuss breaking up Facebook's monopoly, because it's already too much power in only one hand," said Weber. "So I ask you simple, and that is my final question: can you convince me not to do so?" Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt then chimed in and asked whether Facebook would cooperate with European antitrust authorities to determine whether the company was indeed a monopoly, and if it was, whether Facebook would accept splitting off WhatsApp or Messenger to remedy the problem. The Verge reports: The panel's format let Zuckerberg selectively reply to questions at the end of the session, and he didn't address Verhofstadt's points. Instead, he broadly outlined how Facebook views "competition" in various spaces. "We exist in a very competitive space where people use a lot of different tools for communication," said Zuckerberg. "From where I sit, it feels like there are new competitors coming up every day" in the messaging and social networking space. He also said that Facebook didn't hold an advertising monopoly because it only controlled 6 percent of the global advertising market. (It's worth noting: this is still a huge number.) And he argued that Facebook promoted competition by making it easier for small businesses to reach larger audiences -- which is basically unrelated to the question of whether Facebook itself is a monopoly.
Mark Zuckerberg got to cherry-pick the questions he wanted to answer from EU Parliament after it spent an hour taking turns rattling off queries in bulk before leaving just a half-hour for his batched responses. Zuckerberg immediately trotted out his dorm room story of not expecting Facebook’s current duty to safety and democracy, and repeated his pledge to broaden the company’s responsibility. While he’s vowed to have his team follow-up with point-by-point replies, he managed to escape the televised testimony without any newsworthy gaffes.
The public will have to wait for canned, written responses to the toughest questions about why Facebook didn’t disclose the Cambridge Analytica issue immediately, how it uses shadow profiles, and what he thinks about Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp being broken up. If Zuckerberg played it safe during his U.S. congressional testimony by being boring, he dodged scandal here by using the abbreviated format to bend the testimony towards his most defensible positions.
Future testimonies by technology industry executives will be much more productive for the public if officials keep questions succinct and only ask the hard ones, executives are given ample time to answer them all, and they use a question-answer format. No more of this question-question-question-question-answer-answer-goodbye.
The Facebook CEO used his short answer period to explain that he feels like there’s plenty of new competition for Facebook, and that it actually aids competition by offering tools to enable small businesses to challenge big brands online. He cited that “dozens of percents” of European users have gone through Facebook’s GDPR settings, rolling them early so they’re dismissible until the May 25th deadline because “The last thing we want is for people to go through the flows quicker than they need to and just hit OK”. That ignores the dark pattern designs built into that GDPR privacy flow, that while temporarily dismissible, does coerce users to consent by visually downplaying the buttons to opt out of giving Facebook data.
Zuckerberg laid out his thoughts about the future of regulation for social networks, noting that “Some sort of regulation is important and inevitable, and the important thing is to get this right.” He said that regulations would need to “allow for innovation, don’t inadvertently prevent new technologies like AI from being able to develop, and of course to make sure the that new startups — the next student sitting in a college dorm room like I was — doesn’t have an undue burden in being able to build the next great product.” That’s positive, since blunt regulation could create a moat for Facebook.
But when Zuckerberg concluded his testimony, noting “I want to be sensitive to time becuase we are 15 minutes over” the scheduled 75 minute session length, several EU officials spoke up, angry that they felt their questions had been ignored. “Will you allow users to escape targeted advertising? I asked you six yes-or-no questions and got not a single answer, and of course well you asked for this format for a reason” asked one member of Parliament. “I’ll make sure we follow up and get you answers to those” Zuckerberg coldly responded. “We’re going to have someone come to do a full hearing soon to answer more of the technical questions as well.”
The combative atmosphere at the conclusion of the testimony means Facebook could encounter soured regulators in the future who might be emboldened by their disappointment in his appearance. Zuckerberg might have avoided losing the minds of the EU by dodging damning topics, but he sure didn’t win the hearts of Europe’s lawmakers.
From the late 1970s on, the Chicago School economists worked with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Augusto Pinochet and Brian Mulroney to dismantle antitrust enforcement, declaring that the only time government should intervene is when monopolists conspired to raise prices -- everything else was fair game.
But with Instagram’s newest feature, at least users know when they’ve seen everything and can stop scrolling without FOMO. Instagram is showing some users a mid-feed alert after a bunch of browsing that says “You’re All Caught Up – You’ve seen all new post from the past 48 hours.” When asked about it, Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s testing this feature. It declined to give details about how it works, including whether the announcement means you’ve seen literally every post from people you follow from the last two days, or just the best ones that the algorithm has decided are worth showing you.
The feature could help out Instagram completists who want to be sure they never miss a selfie, sunset, or supper pic. Before Instagram rolled out its algorithm in the summer of 2016, they could just scroll to the last post they’d seen or when they knew they’d last visited. Warning them they’ve seen everything could quiet some of the backlash to the algorithm, which has centerd around people missing content they wanted to see because the algorithm mixed up the chronology.
But perhaps more importantly, it’s one of the app’s first publicly tested features that’s clearly designed with the “time well spent” movement in mind. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been vocal about prioritizing well-being on Facebook over profits, to the point that the network reduced the prevalance of viral videos in the feed so much that that app lost 1 million users in the U.S. and Canada in Q4 2017. “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down . . . If we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too” he wrote.
But Instagram’s leadership had been quiet on the issue until last week, TechCrunch broke news that buried inside Instagram was an unlaunched “Usage Insights” feature that would show users their “time spent”. That prompted Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to tweet our article, noting “It’s true . . . 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 . . . Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this. We want to be part of the solution. I take that responsibility seriously.”
Instagram is preparing a “Usage Insights” feature that will show how long you spend in the app. Image via Jane Manchun Wong
It’s reassuring to hear that one of the world’s most popular, but also overused, social media apps is going to put user health over engagement and revenue. Usage Insights has yet to launch. But the “You’re all caught up” alerts show Instagram is being earnest about its commitment. Those warnings almost surely prompt people to close the app and therefore see fewer ads, hurting Instagram’s bottom line.
Perhaps its a product of Facebook and Instagram’s dominance that they can afford to trade short-term engagement for long-term sustainability of the product. Some companies like Twitter have been criticized for not doing more to kick abusers off their platforms because it could hurt their user count.
But with Android now offering time management tools and many urging Apple to do the same, the time well spent reckoning may be dawning upon the mobile app ecosystem. Apps that continue to exploit users by doing whatever it takes to maximize total time spent may find themselves labeled the enemy, plus may actually be burning out their most loyal users. Urging them to scroll responsibly could not only win their favor, but keep them browsing in shorter, healthier sessions for years to come.