Instagram plans to introduce new features on its platform to encourage Internet users to clear their minds, by changing the subject or even inviting them to take a break. But the measures announced only deal with the consequences, not the causes of a fundamental problem.
This is one of the first visible consequences of the Wall Street Journal investigation which ensures that Facebook is well aware that Instagram is harmful for a third of young women, but also of the shattering revelations of a former employee of the social network , Frances Haugen, who generally accuses the community site of prioritizing profits to the detriment of the safety and well-being of her community.
After announcing a “hiatus” in the development of Instagram Kids, which would be a version of the platform for ages 10 to 12, Facebook vice president of global public affairs Nick Clegg said to CNN on Oct. 10 that further action will follow to preserve users.
Take a break from Instagram, Instagram will tell you
One of them is quite puzzling, since it is a feature that invites people to “take a break”, presumably in the form of a pop-up message that would appear after a certain amount of time. use – for example, if it’s been an hour since you continuously scrolled content from people you follow, or content that is suggested by the platform.
By the way, another option is supposed to spot if you watch too much of the same thing and, if so, tell you to change it up a bit. ” We’re going to introduce something that I think will make a huge difference: when our systems see that a teen is watching the same content over and over again, and it’s content that maybe isn’t conducive to their well-being, we will encourage them to watch other content “, According to Nick Clegg, whose words were echoed by The Verge.
We do not know exactly when these two features, which seem to be invented to respond to the increasing criticism against the American social network, will arrive. What we do know, however, is that these are not, strictly speaking, fresh ideas. They had already been sketched on September 14, on the Instagram site, the same day as the Wall Street Journal article came out.
” Through our research, we are starting to understand the types of content that some people believe may contribute to a negative social comparison, and we are exploring ways to get them to watch other topics, if they are watching this type of content. repeatedly », Could we read then. These thoughts were confirmed in a later post on September 27.
” We announced that we were exploring two new ideas: encouraging people to watch other topics if they dwell on content that could contribute to a negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively called “Take a Break”, where people might pause their account and take a moment to consider if the time they are spending is meaningful Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said.
A problem by design on Instagram?
These developments, which still need to be deployed on Instagram, remain open to criticism, because they aim more to deal with the consequences induced by what the social network causes in certain Internet users, rather than to act on the causes. That apps have to say maybe they should be used less also says a lot about how they’re designed.
It also says a lot about the weight that the attention economy has taken on, where everything seems designed to keep audiences on a particular platform for as long as possible. It obviously remains to be seen if the changes announced by Instagram will produce a beneficial effect: but we can doubt that a simple pop-up will change the situation. It should have the same effect as the warnings on cigarette packages today: that is, none.