Instagram’s ‘caught up’ joins movement to set limit on screentime


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Instagram users will soon be stopped in their scrolling tracks with a new message: “You’re All Caught Up” the social media app announced last week.

The message appears when users have gone through all the posts from the accounts they follow that were published in the last two days.

The new Instagram feature comes amid mounting concern about what social media and smartphones were doing to the mental health of their users. Consumers advocacy groups have also been pushing companies to consider how users are spending their time.

A study from online measurement company SimilarWeb found that Instagram users on Android phones spent 53 minutes per day on the app.

In May, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom tweeted that his Facebook-owned company would be working to address growing concerns about how much time people spend on their smartphones.

“We’re building tools that will help the [Instagram] community know more about the time they spend on Instagram — any time should be positive and intentional,” Systrom tweeted.

TechCrunch reported that the company is also testing a “Usage Insights” tool that will provide users with information they need to critically examine the time they spend in the app.

The release addresses criticism that Instagram has faced since 2016, when it moved from a chronological content feed to an algorithm-based feed. Many users felt that the algorithm failed to show them all of the content posted by the accounts they follow. They had also complained it was difficult to keep track of seen posts, the company said in an earlier announcement about the new feature.

“The ‘You’re All Caught Up’ message was created to provide a better sense of where you are in your feed and to let you know that you haven’t missed recent posts or videos,” Instagram spokesperson Seine Kim said this week.

But the message may also prompt users to exit the app once they’re “all caught up,” which could reduce users’ time spent in Instagram — limiting the amount of money the company can make from showing ads. Or it could push users to Instagram’s “Stories” feature, which disappear after 24 hours.

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