Instagram Is Going to Start Showing You Exactly How Addicted You Are
Instagram has a way of worming its way into your life unnoticed until you're more hashtag than human, but a new addition to the app might just save us all from ourselves. The coming feature will tell you precisely how much time you've spent reminding yourself how super-great everyone's life is, and it may be just the reminder you need to spend a little less time documenting your aspirational activities and more time enjoying them.
The new feature was uncovered by computer scientist Jane Manchun Wong, who reverse engineers apps, and was then reported on by TechCrunch. Soon after that, it was confirmed on Twitter by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.
The feature shows up under a sidebar called "Usage insights" with a little graph next to it that will reportedly dig into "time spent" and other data insights. Details are scant for now since the feature has yet to roll out, but we know this is part of an industry-wide push toward more responsible social-media usage.
Here's the original tweet that shows how the feature appears in the app:
Instagram's CEO then tweeted out a simple confirmation to TechCrunch's story with a simple, "It's true."
He then elaborated on how this aligns with the social-media platform's philosophy toward user experience, claiming "any time should be positive and intentional."
"Understanding how time online impacts people is important," he added, "and it's the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this."
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.— Kevin S. (@kevin) May 16, 2018
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.— Kevin S. (@kevin) May 16, 2018
It's not yet clear exactly what data users will have access to and what scale the time spent will show -- daily, weekly, total time, etc. -- but Systrom confirming the rumor suggests this tool will be available soon to all.
Given the bad press faced by other social-media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat of late, it's refreshing to see a company get out in front of a problem its users are facing. Then again, it's probably only a matter of time before people start adding these numbers to their Insta stories.