Facebook users who are spending more time on the social network as they stay at home to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus now have a new tool to limit their use of the app. On Thursday, the company released a feature called Quiet Mode, which mutes notifications and lets you schedule a social media break.
The tool showcases how Facebook is trying to tackle the potential drawbacks of social media as more people turn to the site while social distancing. Studies have shown that social media use can fuel mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, especially among teens. Even Facebook has acknowledged that social media can be bad if people are passively consuming content rather than using sites to interact with others. The company has also been testing other features, including a way to hide how many “likes” a post receives on Facebook and Instagram.
To access Quiet Mode, you go to your settings menu on Facebook and click Your Time on Facebook. Then you go to Manage your time, where you can schedule Quiet Mode for a certain amount of time or use it immediately. If you try to access the app, it’ll display how much time is left before your break ends, but the tool also gives you the option to use Facebook for 15 minutes. The social network is rolling out Quiet Mode globally, but it’s currently available only on the iPhone. Facebook is also working on an Android version that’s scheduled to be released in May.
The company first released a tool called Your Time on Facebook in 2018. Quiet Mode is another update. Facebook is displaying new data within the tool, including how many times you opened the app within the last week, how your usage compares to the same time last week and daytime versus nighttime usage.