TECH: Instagram has quietly increased its minimum daily time limit.

Over the past cou­ple of years, Insta­gram and Face­book have offered ways to see how much time you spend using the apps each day as well as an option to set a dai­ly time lim­it for usage. Now, it appears that Insta­gram has increased the min­i­mum dai­ly time lim­it set­ting to 30 min­utes from 10 or 15 minutes.

An Insta­gram user told TechCrunch that the app asked them to “set a new val­ue” for their dai­ly time lim­it, while not­ing that they could keep their exist­ing set­ting. “The val­ues avail­able for dai­ly time lim­its change as part of an app update,” a pop-up reads. The Insta­gram app cur­rent­ly offers me a min­i­mum delay of 30 min­utes. Engad­get asked Meta for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on when and why the change is happening.

The set­tings on the Face­book app are more spe­cif­ic. Users can choose any time lim­it in five-minute incre­ments. When a user reach­es their cho­sen time lim­it in either app, a noti­fi­ca­tion appears to let them know, though they can ignore it.

At the time it rolled out the fea­ture, Meta said the idea was to give peo­ple more con­trol over the time they spend on its apps and to “fos­ter con­ver­sa­tions between par­ents and teens” about healthy online habits. In Novem­ber, Insta­gram began test­ing a “Take a Break” fea­ture to remind users, espe­cial­ly teens, to put down their phones from time to time.

It’s unclear why Insta­gram appears to have increased the min­i­mum dai­ly time lim­it. How­ev­er, the tim­ing is inter­est­ing giv­en that Face­book’s dai­ly active users dropped for the first time last quar­ter, while user growth in Meta’s fam­i­ly of apps (Face­book, Insta­gram and What­sApp) remained near­ly flat.

Meta expects slow­er rev­enue growth this year due to more com­pe­ti­tion for peo­ple’s time and users pay­ing more atten­tion to fea­tures that gen­er­ate less rev­enue, such as Reels. Increas­ing the time lim­it and allow­ing users to scroll through Insta­gram and watch ads longer could be a way to coun­ter­act these rev­enue issues.

It remains to be seen what politi­cians might think of this move. In Octo­ber, Sen­a­tor Richard Blu­men­thal said that Meta (which was still called Face­book at the time) “knows that its prod­ucts can be addic­tive and tox­ic to chil­dren.” Ear­li­er this month, a bipar­ti­san bill was intro­duced in the Sen­ate with the goal of ask­ing the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion to study ways to reduce “the harms of algo­rith­mic ampli­fi­ca­tion and social media addic­tion on cov­ered platforms.”

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