Facebook users who are spending more time on the social network as they stay at home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus now have a new tool to limit their use of the app. On Thursday, the social media giant released a new feature called “Quiet Mode” that mutes notifications and allows you to schedule a social media break.
The new 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 trigger 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 it 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 on “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 will 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 only available on the iPhone. Facebook is also working on an Android version that is 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.
Outside of these new tools, Facebook said it’s donating $2 million to support organizations such as Vibrant Emotional Health that operates the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US, Kids Help Phone in Canada and Centro de Valorização da Vida in Brazil.
The company is sharing self-care tips to relieve stress and stay active from the World Health Organization. Facebook-owned Instagram introduced a new live series from Netflix’s account called “Wanna Talk About It?” in which celebrities discuss mental health issues with experts from groups such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NAMI and The Trevor Project. Instagram has a “pause all” feature in its settings that will also mute notifications.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is scheduled to speak with Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University who has researched loneliness, about mental health at 2:15 p.m. PT today on Facebook Live.
“With more and more people physically distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, staying in touch with loved ones can be difficult,” Sandberg said in a Facebook post.