One of the unexpected trends of 2018 is the sight of technology companies actively trying (or, if you’re feeling cynical: actively trying to be *seen* to be trying) to persuade people to stop using their products as much. Google and Apple have shown off features in the next versions of Android and iOS to nudge people into putting their phones down, for example, while YouTube and Instagram are also pushing back against the addictive quality of their own apps. And now Facebook.
TechCrunch has spotted an unreleased ‘Your Time on Facebook’ feature hidden in the social network’s Android app – and thus potentially about to be launched. It lets people know how many minutes a day they’re averaging on Facebook, with options to set a daily reminder once they reach a certain number of minutes. “We’re always working on new ways to help make sure people’s time on Facebook is time well spent,” said a spokesperson, using the slogan that’s been gaining increased currency in Silicon Valley, even as criticism of the addictiveness of modern gadgets and social media has increased.