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  • Kyle Chua

Instagram Adding Feature That Prompts Teens To “Take A Break”

Instagram and Facebook are adding new features that are meant to promote the wellbeing and mental health of teen users in the wake of whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before the U.S. Congress last week.

Credit: Thomas White via Reuters

In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said Instagram will introduce a "take a break" feature that will push teens to take some time off of the social media network.

Clegg also said that Facebook will "nudge" teens away from harmful content. "We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that a teenager is looking at the same content over and over again, and it’s content which may not be conducive to their well being, we will nudge them to look at other content," he said.

The social media executive has yet to share details regarding how the two features will work and be implemented. He also did not give a timeline of when they will be rolled out. A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge that the features are "not testing yet but will soon".

Credit: CNN State of the Union

The two features were first hinted at by Instagram head Adam Mosseri in a blog post published on 27 September. There, he wrote that the company was "exploring" the features. But now it seems Facebook is ready to move ahead with them to address Haugen’s allegations about how internal research has shown Instagram has a negative effect on the mental health of young people.

In the same blog post, it was also revealed that development on Instagram Kids, a version of the platform aimed at users below 13 years old, was being paused, along with the addition of parental supervision tools.

Clegg was also asked whether Facebook’s algorithm helped spread pro-insurrection messages ahead of the U.S. Capitol Riot last January, to which he could not give a yes or no answer. He, however, said that Facebook’s algorithms "should be held to account, if necessary, by regulation so that people can match what our systems say they’re supposed to do from what actually happens."


Written by Kyle Chua


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