- Instagram's adding a 'Quiet Mode' that will notify contacts when you're offline
- Instagram's also adding new manual content controls to improve its recommendations
- Instagram's also adding new settings update alerts for parents
Instagram’s adding more ways for users to control their in-app experience, with new tools that better enable you to take a break from the app, and options to manage what you’re shown in content recommendations.
First off, Instagram’s adding a new ‘Quiet Mode’, which will switch off all notifications, add a ‘Quiet Mode’ notifier to your profile status, and implement an auto-responder on your DMs.
As you can see in these images, you can manually set your Quiet Mode time in the app, which adds relevant alerts to let your contacts know that you’re off-grid.
As per IG:
“Teens have told us that they sometimes want to take time for themselves and might be looking for more ways to focus at night, while studying, and during school. You can easily customize your ‘Quiet mode’ hours to fit your schedule and once the feature is turned off, we’ll show you a quick summary of notifications so you can catch up on what you missed.”
Instagram further notes that anybody can use the new Quiet Mode tools, but it’ll be prompting teens specifically to do so if it detects that they’re spending a significant amount of time on Instagram late at night.
Which is a good idea. It can be easy for teens to get caught in the FOMO trap, and feel like they have to be online at all times, but they also need to take breaks, and give their brains time to rest. The new prompts could, at the least, get them thinking about this, while the notifications will also help users feel more comfortable, in that their friends won’t feel like they’re ignoring them when they the take a rest.
And again, we all need to take a break every now and then. It could be a handy way to ensure people are aware that you’re doing just that.
Instagram says that Quiet Mode is now available to all users in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with more regions coming soon.
Instagram’s also adding some new self-moderation tools, including the ability to hide recommended posts in the app based on keywords.
As you can see in this sequence, now, when you hide a post in your feed, you’ll see a new ‘Don’t suggest posts with certain words’ option in the pop-up list. Tap on that, and you’ll be able to mute topics from your recommendations and Explore listings.
“Add a word or list of words, emojis or hashtags that you want to avoid – like ’fitness’ or ‘recipes’ – and we’ll work to no longer recommend content with those words in the caption or the hashtag. You can also access this in the Hidden Words section of Privacy settings.”
Instagram will also now enable you to hide multiple posts at once within Explore that you aren’t interested in.
Tap the ‘Hide more’ prompt on the initial alert, and you’ll have the option to add a selection of posts that you don’t want to see, which will further inform Instagram of your content preferences.
Which could be very handy as Instagram continues to ramp up its content recommendation push, and its AI systems guess at topics you might like based on your activity.
Meta has said that it plans to double the amount of recommended posts in user feeds by the end of 2023, with more than 15% of content displayed to Instagram users now coming from its AI recommendation tools. As that happens, it’s inevitably going to make some mistakes - and now, you’ll have more ways to manually train the algorithm to your preferences, which could significantly improve your IG experience.
Of course, that does depend on how many people actually bother to use these options. But you will have them available, which is an important step.
Finally, Instagram’s also adding a new element within its Family Center which will enable parents to better monitor their kids’ privacy and account settings.
“Recently, we added the ability for parents to see their teen’s Instagram settings, including privacy and account settings. If their teen updates a setting, parents will receive a notification so they can talk to their teen about the change. Parents can now also view accounts their teen has blocked.”
That could help parents stay on top of changes in their kids’ usage, and inquire why any such change was made. Which could be a good prompt to maintain communication with teens around safe internet use, and situations to avoid in social apps.
These are good additions, which will have positive impacts for younger users, and will help all users better manage their in-app experience. And if more people are more active in manually updating their interests, that could help put Instagram on more even footing with TikTok, in regards to content recommendations, and could see Reels, in particular, become more relevant and engaging.