Dec. 16 (UPI) — Facebook launched a new feature called Snooze to allow users to block postings from a person, page or group for 30 days rather than unfollowing or unfriending an account.
The change comes as Facebook also questions social media’s affect on people’s lives. The website, which was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, has 2.07 billion monthly users as of the third quarter of this year, according to Statistica.
“We’ve heard from people that they want more options to determine what they see in News Feed and when they see it,” Facebook Product Manager Shruthi Muraleedharan wrote in a blog Friday.
“With Snooze, you don’t have to unfollow or unfriend permanently, rather just stop seeing someone’s posts for a short period of time. The people, Pages, and groups you snooze will not be notified. You will be notified before the Snooze period is about to end and the setting can also be reversed at any time.”
Users can select Snooze in the top-right drop-down menu of a post.
Muraleedharan wrote “it turned out, you’re not alone” if you think you are inundated with content you don’t want to see.
Snooze joins a series of other content controls for News Feed — Unfollow, Hide, Report and See First — to customize users’ experience, Facebook noted.
“As News Feed evolves, we’ll continue to provide easy-to-use tools to give you the most personalized experience possible every time you visit Facebook,” Muraleedharan wrote.
The company also posted a blog co-written by research director David Ginsberg and Moira Burke, a research scientist at Facebook, on Friday titled: “Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?”
“With people spending more time on social media, many rightly wonder whether that time is good for us,” they wrote. “Do people connect in meaningful ways online? Or are they simply consuming trivial updates and polarizing memes at the expense of time with loved ones?”
They said they are “critical questions for Silicon Valley.”
“As parents, each of us worries about our kids’ screen time and what ‘connection’ will mean in 15 years,” Muraleedharan and Burke wrote. “We also worry about spending too much time on our phones when we should be paying attention to our families.”
Facebook recently pledged $1 million toward research “to better understand the relationship between media technologies, youth development and well-being.”
The co-authors said they are “working to make Facebook more about social interaction and less about spending time.”
The blog authors said Facebook employs social psychologists, social scientists and sociologists, “and we collaborate with top scholars to better understand well-being and work to make Facebook a place that contributes in a positive way.”
Besides the Snooze button, changes to the News Feed include “more opportunities for meaningful interactions and reduce passive consumption of low-quality content,” they wrote.
Also, there is a feature called Take a Break from a past relationship in which people can control what they see their ex wrote on Facebook, what their ex can see and who can see their past posts.
And Facebook is working on suicide prevention, including support on Facebook Live and artificial intelligence to detect suicidal posts before they are reported.
“We don’t have all the answers, but given the prominent role social media now plays in many people’s lives, we want to help elevate the conversation,” they wrote.
“At the end of the day, we’re committed to bringing people together and supporting well-being through meaningful interactions on Facebook.”