Back in August 2018, Facebook announced that it will be releasing new tools to manage your time on Facebook and Instagram. Well, Facebook is now rolling out the tool called “Your Time On Facebook” fifteen weeks after the announcement.
The tool does exactly what it says, “Your Time On Facebook” will tell you the number of minutes you’ve been spending on the apps. The rollout was first spotted by Techcrunch.
According to Facebook, the goal of the tool is to “help people manage their time on Facebook”. It also hopes that the new feature will “foster conversation between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them”.
For now, you can only access the feature on the Facebook app. That means the time spent on facebook website will not be taken into account.
To access the tool, it is the same process for both iOS and Android, navigate to the Settings and Privacy menu, under this menu you will find the feature “Your Time On Facebook”. Once you click on it, you will get a bar graph of the week where your usage time is displayed by hours and minutes per day.
Just below the dashboard, you can set a daily reminder to alert yourself when you reach the amount of time you want to spend on Facebook for that day which you can cancel or change anytime.
For Instagram, go to your Account, click on More, then settings, navigate to the “Your Activity” menu and you will see the dashboard there just similar to Facebook.
There are several limitations to the newly released tool at the moment, one, it only considers your activity on the app only, leaving your desktop activity totally out of the stats.
Two, “Your Time On Facebook” tool doesn’t record your usage across devices. The number displayed in the bar graph only shows the amount of time you spend on Facebook and Instagram for that single device.
However, in a mail sent to WIRED, Facebook clarify some of the limitations saying “As we continue to work on these important tools, we hope to add a measure for the desktop/world wide web. We are starting with measuring the time spent on the mobile app because people spend more time using a Facebook mobile app than on their desktop computers”.
Similar tools are released by other major tech companies with the exception of Twitter. The goal of these tools is similar as well which is to help people reclaim their time and spend less time with their phones and less time on apps and combat tech addiction. In May, Google announced its “Digital Well Being” tools and a month later Apple release the “Screen Time tools.
With time we will find out if the Facebook tool is just another uncomfortable truth to ignore.