Wow. Humane Updates from Instagram?

I went to update my Instagram app a couple nights ago, and read the update(as I always do), and I was really surprised by what I saw. It’s hard for me to believe that this is as good as it sounds… but it’s the first time I have ever seen language like this from a major social media app.

It seems Instagram is rolling out tools to 1. encourage awareness of the time you spend on the app, and 2. limit notifications.

This language SOUNDS humane. It seriously sounds as if they are acknowledging users are humans, instead of treating us like rats in a brain study.

(I still believe Instagram messed with notifications to ‘keep them in the pipe,’ making them irregular, so that you have to open & close the app, and refresh, to dislodge them, encouraging specific reward-seeking behavior, & can remember when that change happened… but maybe they’ll clean that up. Let’s see.)

These updates haven’t rolled out to me, yet, but I would love to hear feedback from people who use Instagram once it does––if you, friends, or family use these tools. I’d like to hear if they change your awareness or behavior, and if you have a renewed view of Instagram––if it feels that they are moving in a humane direction.

"Time on Instagram should be positive, intentional and inspiring." :eyes: Wild.


I would guess that the Center for Humane Tech’s actions have done much to influence the “time well spent” on Instagram. Great work CHT!

Sure, as I mentioned may times it’s in businesses’ best interests to sound humane and continue business as usual as much as practical. While the new features are promising and useful to Instagram users, it probably won’t affect the larger picture since Instagram is motivated by the attention economy where more time on the service = more time viewing ads = higher revenue. So I’d guess that the new features will do almost nothing to reduce time on the service otherwise Instagram would be shooting itself in the foot.

But more importantly if we take an even broader approach, should people spend any time at all viewing feeds of photos and videos? Viewing social media or following encourages other people to post. Should people be posting on social media at all? Everyone has their own interests and preferences. I’ve decided it’s better not to view or post social media at all, unless it radically changes in substance to something actually worthwhile.


This is Facebook we are talking about, ultimately. You think Zuck wants to be dressed up in a monkey suit and sat in front of stupid questions from congresspeople again any time soon? I don’t think so.

This is classic behavior when a company senses it can no longer bluff its public in believing that there isn’t a problem. So what they do is put out token efforts at self-awareness and self-regulation to diffuse criticism … and hopefully allow self-regulation attempts to stave off government and regulation intervention.

I’m not trying to be cynical… just noting that this is playbook corporate responsiveness driven by self interest rather than any altruistic benefit of their users. Which is fine… self interest ensures more sustainable business results for the ecosystem. But the underlying economics of mining users for cash haven’t changed.

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Real change will only happen when social media is not paid for by advertisers . I think it should be a regulated entity like electricity .


Not sure what you’re referring to but I’m aware of all of that. Feels a little mansplaining to me.

I recently closed the only social media account I ever had - Linkedin. Social media has taken over our time, making it worth for advertisers to spend on the platform. For what? Do you really have a thousand friends? The “likes”, the comments on your oh-so-interesting post, are all gimmicks to play on our vanity and innate desire to be heard, to be appreciated. Remember that episode in Black Mirror where the character is so obsessed with building a good score? She would go out of her way to “like” and comment on others’ posts, expecting some recognition back. Oh, and yes, I have thousands of “friends”, so that makes me a socially able person.

The whole thing becomes entirely virtual, completely detached from our normal and healthy human desires to bond with our close friends and families. Of course, many people do just that. But then, why? Why substitute normal interactions with a cold, digital experience?

Did you know that many people actually DIED taking dangerous selfies “for the Gram”? Read this:

Vanity, again, is the culprit.


Not to mention an entire industry built on the premise that social media success is the key to business success. How many of us who are business owners regularly receive emails from digital marketing agencies suggesting that increasing our social media presence will boost our sales by say, 40%?

It has become the “new normal”. Large corporations are pressuring their top executives to contribute to building a “digital presence” by writing posts on designated social media channels.

Reminds me of Dilbert and the engineers’ reaction to a new problem: “Let’s build a database.” A proposal they know is utterly futile, but this is something they always do. Nowadays, it’s “Let’s build a presence on social media.” Customers could not care less, but at least management thinks they’ve done something.

This is fascinating and sad. 259 known death related to selfies, and I’m sure many more deaths that are unknown. Surely most, if not 90%+ of selfies are for social media. This is the exactly the kind of statistic we need, because now there is a link showing that social media use is leading to death.

How may deaths is social media worth?

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