As Instagram head readies testimony on Capitol Hill, social media giant reveals “Take a Break” feature for users

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri is set to testify before lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon about social media’s effect on young users, just as the platform unveiled updates meant to get them to stop scrolling.

Mosseri announced the new features in a company blog post on Tuesday, which includes launching the “Take a Break” feature in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, we’ll ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future,” Monserri said. “We’ll also show them expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset.”

The updates come in the wake of a former employee of Instagram parent company Facebook’s testifying before lawmakers in October. Whistleblower Frances Haugen alleged blatant disregard from company executives when they learned their platforms could have harmful effects on the mental health of young people.

Documents leaked by Haugen to The Wall Street Journal cited the company’s own internal research said that Instagram made body image issues worse for one in three teenage girls.

Mosseri now insists Instagram will also take a stricter approach to what they recommend to teens on the app via search, explore, hashtags and suggested accounts, and will stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them. Instagram will also start nudging teens towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a long time.

“We’ll also be launching our first tools for parents and guardians early next year…[so] they will be able to see how much time their teens spend on Instagram and set time limits,” Mosseri posted.

Those tools are set to launch in March.