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Meta Makes Changes to Instagram Daily Time Limit Warnings after Disappointing Revenue Report

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Recently Mark Zuckerberg had to admit that Meta not only had lost a significant amount of money but stood to lose more as changes in attitudes around personal data privacy and targeted ads are changing. In the EU privacy protection laws have impacted Meta in, to them, negative ways. Meta has made what could be interpreted as a threat to pull their services from the EU, it some agreement cannot be reached. They are also upset at Apple after Apple made the outrageous, again to Meta, decision to allow users to opt-in to cross app tracking. This means that Meta’s current data collection schemes are at risk.

So, if you are Meta and you know that your ad revenue and data collection and sharing revenue is being impacted, what do you do? Well, it seems they have decided to change the daily time limit system that some people use to ensure they are not spending too much time on apps like Instagram. Originally, they allowed for very granular control with options a short as 10 minutes. This meant that a user would only be allowed to spend a certain amount of time in a day on Instagram.

Now the minimum daily time is 30 minutes. Meta claims the move was to prevent confusion with users as they configure this option. I mean I can see how someone would be confused by time spans as short as 10 minutes (sarcasm). We would suspect that the reality is more around the amount of time that a user is exposed to ads. Since the disappointing revenue report, we have noticed an increase in the number of ads we see in Instagram. Having users on for three times the original limit can be significant.

You can still set warnings that you need to take a break from the app, but it is not the same as a daily limit for interaction with the app. It raises the question, if Meta is ok with telling someone to take a break after 10 minutes, what is wrong with a reminder to close the app after 10 minutes?  Meta is sure to make more changes like this to other platforms they control all to keep people engaged (and to send them ads).

Sean Kalinich

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