RSPH welcome Facebook’s aim to control excessive use

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) welcomes the announcement that Facebook will be providing users of their app and Instagram with optional measures, aimed at controlling excessive use.

Users of the Facebook app and Instagram will now be able to opt-in to view an activity report, showing how much time they have spent on the apps on each of the past seven days. There will also be an option for users to set an alert notifying when a set period of time on the app has been spent, and to set a timer to switch off push notifications for periods of 15 minutes to eight hours.

Ed Morrow, External Affairs Manager at RSPH said:

“We are keen for social media companies to be part of the solution when it comes to making their platforms more positive places for mental health and well-being, so it is very encouraging to see Facebook and Instagram taking steps in the right direction by implementing these measures.

“We have previously called for the introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media platforms, so it is especially good to see Facebook taking these recommendations on board with the introduction of features alerting users when they have exceeded a set limit.
Measures to protect users from nagging push notifications are also very welcome, but a lot depends on exactly how these measures are implemented.

“We would like to see settings that help people manage their use and promote positive mental health and well-being enabled by default and prominently signposted, rather than leaving the responsibility with users to opt-in to changes that may be buried and hard to access, or that need to be repeatedly reactivated.”