Feb 6, 2024 - Technology

How to stop the social media notifications you didn't ask for

Illustration of a person looking up at generic apps with heart notifications.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

If you feel bombarded with what feels like an onslaught of social media notifications lately, you're not alone — but you can make it stop.

The big picture: Companies are using a surge of banners, badges and beeps to nudge users to engage, as the number of notifications on nearly every major social media app have gone up since July, according to data from analytics firm Measure Protocol.

  • People are posting less on social media in favor of a more passive experience, the Wall Street Journal reported in December, though some social media companies deny that interactions are down.

Between the lines: These types of notifications include alerts about friends' activity or other users' new posts, or alerts to engage with trending content.

Yes, but: The platforms do have features that allow the users to opt out of what are typically default settings.

  • Users can also turn off all notifications for a given app on their device settings.

What they're saying: Representatives from Snapchat, LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram's parent company Meta said they have features to allow people to manage and customize their notifications and to prevent unwanted interactions.

  • A Snapchat spokesperson told Axios that since the platform has a growing community, it's natural for there to be increased activity that could prompt more notifications.
  • X did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Facebook

  • To turn off these new types notifications about an account's activity, go to a post from that account and click on the three dots at the upper right corner and select "Turn off these notifications."
  • You can also turn off larger selections of notification types by clicking on your profile icon, going to "Settings and privacy," then clicking "Notifications" under "Preferences." There you can toggle through which types of alerts you would like to get.

Instagram

  • To change your preferences, go to your profile, click the circular icon that takes you Settings and Privacy, then hit Notifications and select what specific types of alerts you'd like to receive through mobile or email.
  • Instagram rolled out a "quiet mode" that pauses notifications, sets the profile's activity status to "In quiet mode" and sends an automatic reply when someone sends a direct message.
  • One Instagram feature allows you to control the time you spend on the app through a dashboard that shows how much time people have spent in the app, a customizable daily time alert and a mute push notifications setting.

X

  • Click on the three dots on the panel, go to Settings and Privacy, then Notifications, Filters and Muted notifications. There you can choose which types of notifications you don't want to see, whether its from people you don't follow or those who don't follow you, along with other options.

LinkedIn

  • To manage notification updates, click the "Notifications" icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then hit the "More" icon to the right of a specific notification and select Delete, Mute, or Turn off from the dropdown menu.

Snapchat

  • Users can turn off notifications about direct messages from friends or stories from friends by tapping the notification symbol at the top of the the user's profile.
  • Click on the three dots and then click on either Story Settings or Chat and Notification Settings to customize your preferences.

TikTok

  • To turn push notifications on or off, tap Profile at the bottom of the app, click the Menu button at the top, then Settings and privacy, then Notifications and make your selections.
  • You can also mute push notifications for a scheduled period of time.

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