An executive of US-based social media titan Facebook has promised that Instagram, a member of the Facebook family of social platforms which also includes chat service provider WhatsApp, will introduce a new “Take a Break” feature that will encourage teen users of the app to simply stop using it for a while.
The feature is meant to reduce addictive and other unhealthy behaviours on the platform amongst one of its highest user bases.
This comes after a week where Facebook faced one of the worst outages in its history, losing $65-million in the process, and then had to confront whistleblower Frances Haugen who alleges that the company continues to focus on profits in spite of the health of its users.
According to Reuters, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs, says that the company would also begin “nudging” teens away from any material on Instagram that may be harmful to their wellbeing.
Clegg continued to say that Facebook’s algorithms should be “held to account” by regulation if needed, to ensure that real-world results matched intentions.
If implemented successfully, this new method could address some of the issues raised by Haugen, who claimed that Facebook was aware that its algorithms were destructive and led children towards harmful materials. Haugen also suggested that US congress should increase Facebook’s liability for its algorithm-chosen content, and do more in making users think about posts before sharing them.
The “Take a Break” system could also backfire, as it may help reduce exposure to harmful content, but will not remove the content in question. The implementation of the feature also rings of a familiar Facebook strategy, writes engadget, that the company is open to regulation, but only regulation it is comfortable with.