Unfollow everything? Not with Facebook!

Because his tool violates Facebook’s user guidelines, a developer is banned from the platform – now he makes the processes surrounding the setting of his add-on public.

Minimalism for the Facebook feed, this is how developer Louis Barclay’s idea could perhaps be summed up. Barclay developed a browser extension called “Unfollow Everything”, with which users can empty their newsfeed suddenly with one click and in future also keep it empty.

The concept behind it: Spend less time on Facebook filtering the relevant postings from the seemingly endless feed interspersed with suggestions and advertising. “The news feed is the thing that ultimately leaves people hanging on the platform for hours, often every day,” says Barclay. “I got the idea for Unfollow Everything a few years ago when I noticed that you don’t necessarily have to use the news feed.”

The posts of friends, people or organizations that really interest you can always be called up consciously on their page, because an unfollow is not to be equated with an unfriend. So you would continue to use the positive aspects of the platform – for example the global networking – while you would have to expose yourself less to the negative side.

In 2020 he published the free extension, which should have significantly reduced the length of time users spend on the platform and thus also their advertising impressions, finally in the Chrome Store.

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Facebook takes action against browser extension developers

Barclay now explains the intention behind its browser add-on in great detail in one Contribution to the news portal Slate – which he published in order to also report that, among other things, Facebook has completely deactivated his private account. The reason for the measure: With its tool, Barclay has violated Facebook’s usage regulations.

In addition to the suspension of his account, “which I had for more than 15 years and which was my main way of keeping in touch with family and friends around the world,” he received a notice of injunction. In addition, according to the terms of use, he is never again allowed to program a tool that interacts with the services of Facebook.

Facebook add-on discontinued: “I couldn’t take this risk”

Both him and the lawyers he contacted were outraged by these demands, Barclay continued. However, the developer is not aiming for legal proceedings against the Zuckerberg group – if he were to lose that, he would have to bear the full costs himself, according to Barclay. “I couldn’t take that risk, that’s why Unfollow Everything no longer exists.”

Facebook, which not only had to struggle with an outage for hours this week, but is currently also being massively attacked by the whistleblower Frances Haugen, is not only working against competitors, but also against its own users, according to Barclay.

For him, endless scrolling on the platform is a waste of time, which he also wants to take action against in the future. “I keep looking for other ways to help people reduce their use of Facebook. In the meantime, I can at least thank them for something: my own Facebook addiction is definitely under control now. “

Tinder, on the other hand, is hoping for a longer service life from a new feature: The dating app is introducing its own currency.

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