In a nutshell: Concerns that social media isn't good for our mental health aren't new, and with so many of us confined to our homes, we're spending even more time on the apps. To help people better control their usage, Facebook is launching a 'Quiet mode' that mutes "most" push notifications and encourages users to stay off the social network while the mode is activated.
The company writes that the tool helps people find the right balance for how they use Facebook. Quiet Mode can be scheduled for when you want to pause push notifications, and launching the app during this time will show a reminder message and a countdown timer. There's also an option to use Facebook for 15 minutes if you're desperate for a fix.
Facebook never explained which notifications it would allow through when Quiet Mode is enabled, though it's likely to be those it's legally required to send.
The new tool will be accessible via the 'Your time on Facebook' option, which comes under the Settings & Privacy menu. Introduced last November, the dashboard shows how long you spend using the app each day, lets you set a reminder after using Facebook for a certain amount of time, and offers news feed/friends preferences. More options are being added, including a total number of visits tracker, day vs night usage comparisons, and week-over-week trends.
There have been plenty of studies suggesting social networks can cause depression, anxiety, and addiction, problems that can be made worse during social isolation. "As we all adjust to new routines and staying home, setting boundaries for how you spend your time online can be helpful. Whether it's to help you focus on your family and friends, sleep without distraction or manage how you spend your time at home, we have tools that can help you find the right balance for how you use Facebook," writes the company.
Quiet Mode is rolling out now and should be live for all iOS users by May, while those on Android will have to wait until June for the full launch.