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Instagram Tests New ‘Take a Break’ Feature to Encourage Users to Limit Time in the App



Instagram is testing a new user wellbeing option called ‘Take a Break’, which will enable users to set reminders to take some time away from the app after a certain period of activity – either 10-, 20- or 30-minutes.

Instagram Take a Break prompts

Here’s an overview of the option from friendly automaton Adam Mosseri:

As you can see here, the new option, which some users will be prompted to activate from their feed, enables you to select a time period for a reminder to take a break from the app, which will then also suggest alternate activities you can do to get away for a moment.

Which could get more users to be more mindful about their Instagram engagement, and at the least, serve as a gentle push to disconnect every now and then, rather than getting pulled into content rabbit holes and/or mindless scrolling for hours on end.

The feature builds on Meta’s various wellbeing tools, with Facebook and Instagram both already offering time limit reminders to better manage your time in each app, while Facebook also has a ‘Take a Break’ option for muting individual users whose posts start to get on your nerves.

Facebook also introduced a ‘Quiet Mode’ last year, which mutes notifications, providing another way to take dedicated time away from the app.

Facebook Quiet Mode

Meta spokesman Nick Clegg first flagged the coming ‘Take a Break’ option for Instagram last month, in an interview about the app’s negative impact on teens, as revealed as part of the recent ‘Facebook Files’ leak. In response to concern, Clegg noted that Instagram would be adding the ‘Take a Break’ option, with a focus on young users specifically, while he also said that the app will introduce new prompts to ‘nudge’ teens away from potentially harmful content.

We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that the teenager is looking at the same content over and over again and it’s content which may not be conducive to their well-being, we will nudge them to look at other content.

In combination, the tools provide more capacity for Instagram users to manage their time in the app – though as noted, both Facebook and Instagram have had time limit reminders since 2018, so functionally it doesn’t add anything, other than maybe some new prompts on such in-stream.

Facebook Time Spent in App charts

Which then begs the question as to what true value the new option will provide. If users can already do this, then the real push needs to be on how to make people take such action, which maybe these new push notifications will do. But really, Instagram can’t stop you using the app for as long as you want, and not many users are going to voluntarily restrict their time.

So will it really be effective? It’s hard to see this adding a lot to the process, though any updates that can help improve wellbeing are worth testing.


But maybe, this is more valuable as a PR exercise, in response to the claims that Instagram can be harmful to users.

Meta is giving users the tools to better manage such, but it can’t be responsible for dictating your time. You either choose to set limits or you don’t.

We’ll see how many people actually switch on the new alerts.



Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar



Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.


Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.


“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.


“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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