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Facebook will soon let you know how much time you spend 'socializing'

An unreleased tool in the code of its Android app shows time spent per day and week.
PA Wire/PA Images
PA Wire/PA Images
David Lumb
David Lumb|@OutOnALumb|June 22, 2018 12:43 PM

Facebook is developing a feature that will let you know how much time you spend on it. Developer Jane Manchun Wong found an unreleased tool deep in the code for the platform's Android app called "Your Time On Facebook" which shows how much time, on average, you spend on it every day, along with the total time you've spent on it in the last week.

Facebook confirmed to Engadget that it's working on the feature. "We're always working on new ways to help make sure people's time on Facebook is time well spent," a spokesperson told TechCrunch. It's unclear when the tool will arrive on Android or any additional platforms.

This makes Facebook the latest tech company to start working on a tool to inform users of how much time they spend on the service. At its I/O conference in May, Google introduced several features in Android and YouTube to help folks track and manage their time spent in apps and services. A month later, Apple introduced similar features for iOS to assist users in controlling their and their children's screen time. (Whether those tools aren't effective enough or end up just nagging are other questions.)

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Not now

It's one thing for device makers to see the change in public opinion (or from their investors) and help users wean themselves away from overdosing on their screens. It's another for a platform like Facebook, which needs people staying engaged and clicking on ads. Yet its Q4 2017 report released in January showed that users are spending less time on it than in previous years -- yet it's making more money than ever.

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Facebook will soon let you know how much time you spend 'socializing'