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Instagram Attempts to Solve Social Media Addiction with New User Insights Feature

June 27, 2018
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Have you fallen victim to the never-ending Instagram scroll cycle? We get it. The pictures, the stories, the captions… they suck you into a never-ending stream of updates, events, and witty comments that you have to read.

Trust us, we’ve been there. We’ve felt the feeling of knowing you should and need to be doing something more productive but you just can’t stop scrolling. You get caught up in your friends and strangers lives that you forget to live your own. Lately, more and more brands have begun to speak up about the social addiction society is enduring and the negative effects it has had on our lives. And the latest company speaking up about it is Instagram.

Recently, we found out that Instagram may be taking it upon themselves to try to solve the social addiction problem altogether. Since it’s launch, Instagram has continued to grow its users and content. With recent studies showing that individuals spend over 2 hours a day on social media alone, Instagram and Facebook have been credited with occupying most of a users time spent on social media.

Lately, many tech companies have received negative feedback and pressure to reduce their addictive qualities. In response to this negative feedback, Instagram is attempting to combat the amount of overgramming and help users curb their Instagram addiction, by rolling out a new “Usage Insights Feature.” When this feature was originally reported to be in the prototype phase in early May, many users were confused as to what stats it would show and some were frightened of what they might discover.


Instagrams potential ability to show the Lifetime amount of time a user has spent on the app is not only eye-opening, but it may also be a pretty frightening number to many users. The ability for Instagram to hold us accountable for our social media usage comes at a time when social media addiction is on the rise, and many younger generations are experiencing the effects of it.

While in early May this feature was just a theory, that theory was recently proven to be a fact when Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom tweeted a link to the Tech Crunch theory article stating it was in the works by saying

“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.”

Much of what Systrom expresses is what we heard from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in January when speaking about the upcoming algorithm changes. Zuckerberg stated “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

Now that Facebook owns Instagram, it is only expected that we will begin to see the brand’s messaging start to align more. Both brands have made it extremely clear that they were designed to bring people together and enhance human interaction rather than hinder it.

While initially, these new insights may cause a reduction in the amount of time people spend on the ap, by being honest about their users Instagram habits Instagram is setting itself up for customer loyalty and success. With more brands genuinely pushing for a healthier lifestyle and social experience, users are forming more personal connections with the companies who feel care about their well being. This new time management app will also prove to be a valuable parenting tool, as it can help parents stay on top of their children’s social habits and presence.

The new Instagram usage menu will feature a chart revealing your daily usage in depth, over the course of a week. While we are unsure when these new features will be launched we do know that the code is already embedded in the current app and is actively being tested. Meaning that if the test is successful, then the feature will be launched sooner than we think.

This update comes shortly after Instagram rolled out it’s “You’re all caught up” feature which notifies a user once they’ve seen all new post since their last Instagram visit

Aside from daily usage, the new usage menu will highlight much more than just stats showing how long you’ve spent in the app.  Not only will it allow you to see your usage stats based on a specific time frame (day, week, month, ect.) but it will also include extra features such as a new commenting interface with a row of quick-add emojis and an @ button for tagging friends. Preset time alerts will also be a focus of the app. While it is unlikely that your app will get shut down after the set time limit, we do know that Instagram will send you a notification telling you that you’ve reached it.

With both Google and Apple rolling out detailed usage stats platforms this year, Instagram is ensuring that they stay ahead of the competition by adding one internally – proving that they too, care about the harmful effects of social media.  Along with this update, Instagram may also be making some changes to its user interface.  Screenshots of the new Usage Stats center show a slide-out navigation menu in which users can even manage their Instagram notifications. While this usage feature has yet to be finalized, it’s likely that there will be various tweaks before it is fully launched.

With both IOS and Android already offering screen time data, it will be exciting to see how Instagram expands upon that data and creates a truly unique user experience. Being the first app in the social space to offer usage insights, Instagram has the opportunity to pave the way for other apps and lay the groundwork for the features that users would like to see. With customized reminders, limit markers, and rules – Instagram can give users the power back and help them lead healthier, less socially addicted lives. While it’s unlikely that Instagram will be the only app to roll this out in the upcoming months, it’s likely that many more apps will begin to offer self-policing abilities.

Because the success of Instagram depends on users using and engaging with the app, it is unlikely that the usage insights feature will provide the option of being locked out of the platform altogether. However, we have seen other systems like Android which will force you to go to your settings and unlock an app once you’ve reached the allotted time limit. While it seems like Instagram genuinely cares about its users, and their mental health, many are wondering how they will position this usage stats center, as they have many more updates coming out that may seem somewhat contradictory. One of which being, a long-form video hub which could lead to even longer Instagram sessions.

While it’s too soon to know if Instagrams time management features will be received as helpful, or shaming – it is safe to say that the time spent on social media continues to grow daily, and society is experiencing adverse effects because of it.

With everyone comparing their lives to the highlight reel of others, it is becoming more challenging to decipher real moments from pre-planned content. While most apps make the majority of their money through people spending time in the app and making in-app purchases, passive scrolling and social media use can not only wreak havoc on the mind, but also on the wallet.

With more and more people becoming distracted and depressed – it’s time that social media apps gave users back their power and turn the attention back on the individual instead of everyone else.

When it comes to social media balance is key, and maintaining a healthy balance of both on and off app interaction will not only lead to better spent time on social but also to happier individuals. With Instagram reaching over 1 Billion active monthly users, they have the ability to influence a huge population of people and encourage them to use social media in a way that enhances their lives.

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