Instagram is getting a new “Usage Insights” tool that would help users see how much time they spent in the social media app, according to a discovery from app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
Wong found the feature hidden in the code of Instagram’s Android app.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO has now tweeted a link to this article with a confirmation that Instagram is building this Usage Insights feature.
“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 are 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.” This article has been updated to reflect the confirmation.
It sounds like Instagram is willing to endure a potential reduction in usage and ad views to be served the mental health of its community.
That’s an admirable pledge, and we’ll see what degree of transparency Instagram rolls out.
By being upfront with users about how much of their lives they’re investing in their favorite apps, tech giants could encourage people to adopt healthier habits and avoid the long, passive, anti-social browsing sessions that can harm their well-being.
These features could also help parents keep track of what their kids are doing online.
Both might lead people to spend less time on certain apps, but they could be happier with companies like Instagram.
The Usage Insights screenshot and “time spent” code were discovered by prolific app investigator Jane Manchun Wong inside the Instagram for Android application package, or “APK”.
She wrote “Be self-aware or be prepared to be ashamed for Instagram addiction”.
When asked for more evidence about how the feature worked, she tweeted screenshot above of Instagram’s code that shows “slideout_menu_time_spent” element.