In April, Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed, “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.” Tech Crunch reports that the online social media giant is now testing a new feature that would provide proof that they are truly moving in that direction. Tentatively titled “Your Time on Facebook,” the feature would provide the user with data about daily and weekly usage.
The Android app would show data for the previous seven days in two ways. The first is a display of how much time you spent on Facebook on each of the last seven days. The other is a calculation of the average amount of time you spent on the app daily over the last seven days. But the new feature wouldn’t stop there. It would also allow you to set a daily limit for yourself and let you know when you’ve reached that limit, so you can control and, if needed, rein in the amount of time you spend staring at your screen. At least the amount of time you stare at Facebook.
Also, in an effort to control the amount and quality of news content viewed by users, Your Time on Facebook also provides an easier way to control your notifications. A Facebook rep told Tech Crunch, “We’re always working on new ways to help make sure people’s time on Facebook is time well spent.”
This effort by Facebook coincides with soon-to-be-launched Android and iOS features that allow self-monitoring of screen time via a dashboard. These features will allow data per app, as well as a capability similar to that of Your Time on Facebook that alerts you will you reach a self-imposed time limit. They will even be able to completely lock you out of particular applications when you reach a certain amount of screen time.
The new Facebook capability follows recent changes by the social media platform to the algorithms they use for determining what appears in each user’s News Feed. The goal of these changes was to improve the quality of content that appears as you scroll through your feed. It is a change that reduced the number of daily active users on the social media platform in North America for the first time ever. In the last quarter of 2017, that number dropped by 700,000. Mark Zuckerberg stated on an earnings call that it came out to a loss of an average of 50 million users daily.
The social media giant has stated in the past that it wants to improve the quality of time spent on Facebook by minimizing hours spent simply scrolling through and increasing time spent making meaningful social connections. Your Time on Facebook doesn’t accomplish that goal, but it could be a step in the right direction.