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The Daily Time Limit Option being Quietly Limited by Instagram

Is Mark Zuckerberg’s “well-spent time” over? Instagram appears to have silently eliminated the ability for mobile users to set a lower daily time limit reminder than 30 minutes, which appears to correspond with Facebook/Meta reporting decreasing growth. This daily time restriction setting sends a message to the user when their app activity reaches the set limit, reminding them to be mindful of how much time they spend on the app — and possibly making it easier for them to choose to quit voluntarily.

When it was making a huge PR push to suggest that more’mindful’ usage of its services was possible, as worry over social media addiction rose, the business backed a user-defined limit for Instagram that could be as low as 15 minutes — or even 10 minutes — every day. However, it appears that the attention-hungry adtech behemoth now wants Instagram users to spend more time scrolling through content streams on the photo- and video-sharing platform so that it can target them with adverts.

This could be due to pressure from the business side to increase revenue. Meta reported flat quarter-over-quarter usage for its eponymous app (Facebook) — and near flat growth for its other apps, which it lumps under a “family of apps” moniker rather than breaking out Instagram, WhatsApp, and other usage separately in its earnings earlier this month.

When the company’s poor Q4 results were released, it shaved 20% off its value, which could be one reason why Meta’s growth teams are experimenting with different levers to drive engagement from existing consumers. An Instagram tipster shared photos of their account with TechCrunch, showing the business encouraging them to “set a new value for your daily limit” — because, as it puts it, “the available daily limits are changing as part of an experiment.”

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