Bulletins

Instagram will allow users to 'take a break'

The company is testing the feature out this week on an opt-in basis.

The Instagram logo on a dark background

Instagram hopes to launch a "take a break" feature in December.

Image: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

Instagram has started testing a new "Take a Break" feature this week, allowing users to notify themselves to take a break after a certain period of time. Users can opt in for in-app break reminders after 10, 20 or 30 minutes.


Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced the news on Wednesday, explaining the potential new feature over video. The video depicts a sample reminder, which instructs users to close Instagram, take a few deep breaths, write down what you're thinking, listen to your favorite song or do something on your to-do list.

Mosseri previously referenced the feature when he announced Instagram's pause of its controversial "Instagram Kids" project. He described "Take a Break" as a way "people could put their account on pause and take a moment to consider whether the time they're spending is meaningful." The Instagram Kids plan had come under fire from regulators who worried about Instagram's harmful effect on kids, particularly after a Wall Street Journal investigation into the service's research on its negative impact on body image.

Only a limited number of users can test out the reminders this week, but Instagram hopes to launch the feature fully in December.

Notably, the feature will not be the default on its app, raising questions about whether it would have any significant impact on users. TikTok rolled out videos reminding users to take a break in February 2020, enlisting some of its top creators to produce them and ensuring they pop up right in users' "For You" pages. The reminders became fodder for other TikTok content as well.


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It will be interesting to see whether Instagram follows through on this feature, or abandons it after its initial testing phase. Instagram considered removing "like" counts from its posts for a while before ultimately leaving it as an opt-in feature. It was also wishy-washy on its "You're All Caught Up" notification that popped up when you had viewed all of your feed with content from the past two days. It ended up launching suggested posts users could click on after this notification, somewhat defeating its purpose.

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