Facebook is an incredibly polarized social network — some people love it and check in on an hourly basis while others have shunned it due to its security issues and violations of user privacy. Many users fumble around with Facebook’s ever-changing interface and many reject what Facebook has become: ad-ridden and spammy. Is there any hope on the horizon?
If you’re on Firefox, there are a few add-ons you can use to change the Facebook experience. These are a few you might not have seen in our popular Firefox manual. Whether you want a drastic change or a slight tweak is up to you, depending on which add-ons you select to use. Of course there are limitations on the extent to which you can “fix” Facebook, but if you’re fed up with Facebook or you want to tweak some annoying features, give these add-ons a try.
Using Chrome? Don’t despair! Here are some Facebook-fixing Chrome extensions for you try.
Social Fixer is an awesome browser add-on that allows you to customize your Facebook experience in ways you didn’t think possible. Not only can it remove a lot of annoying “features” that can’t be removed otherwise, it can also enhance existing features and add new functionality. It really is the “fixer” for the world’s largest social networking site.
Some wonderful things you can do with Social Fixer: get a tabbed news feed for organized browsing, apply visual themes to Facebook, use advanced filtering on your feeds, mark posts as read, highlight comments, use a friend tracker (notification of unfriends), enhanced navigation, and so much more. This add-on is free and powerful so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t at least give it a whirl. For some advanced tips on how to use it, check out these Social Fixer filtering tips.
Social Fixer is great on Firefox, but it’s also available on a number of other browsers: Chrome, Safari, Opera, and as a Greasemonkey script. There is no version for Internet Explorer.
One of my biggest gripes with Facebook is all the spam. The sidebar advertisements aren’t so bad since I’ve learned to completely ignore that bar anyway, but the injection of sponsored posts and random application spam into the main feed drives me crazy. I would be less upset if Facebook provided some way for users to move these aside or disable them altogether, but nope. Nothing.
Thankfully, we have the F.B. Purity add-on to save the day. It’s been in development since 2009 and millions of users around the world use it to improve their Facebook browsing experience. In the add-on options, you can choose to hide a variety of different message types: sponsored posts, suggested posts, became a fan, joined a group, upcoming events, posted/commented/liked a link, etc. And you can hide side panels too, such as events box, ads box, request box, and more.
F.B. Purity delivers on its promise, allowing you to restore Facebook back to its purest state.
Note: At the time of this writing, the version of F.B. Purity in the Mozilla database only works on versions up to Firefox 21. If you go to the F.B. Purity homepage, you can download versions that work on Firefox 22 and beyond.
One of the big draws to Facebook is the messenger service. It’s so easy to send a message over to someone who’s currently online, and even if they aren’t available at the time, the message gets saved and they can always read it at a later time. The chat interface is clean, unobtrusive, and just plain easy to use. Unfortunately, there’s one pitfall that can be troublesome.
Facebook Messenger has something called a “read receipt”, which basically lets the other person know when you actually read their messages. On the one hand, this is a convenient feature for you because you can tell when someone has come back to the computer or if they’re ignoring you. On the other hand, it seems a bit stalker-ish. Maybe you read their messages but you just want to respond on your own time?
With Chat Undetected installed, this feature is disabled. Facebook won’t report to the other person when you read their messages. Freedom restored.
In my previous article on Twitter Firefox add-ons I covered an add-on called Twitter Disconnect. Whenever you visit a website that uses a Twitter widget, Twitter actually picks up and records information on you — even if you don’t have a Twitter account. The Twitter Disconnect add-on prevents that from happening.
Facebook Disconnect is the same thing except for Facebook. How many times have you been on a site with a “Like” button? Or a widget that pulls information from Facebook? Unknowingly, you’ve been allowing Facebook to track you and build a miniature profile on you and your browsing habits. If privacy is a concern for you, this add-on is just one more step towards keeping you anonymous on the Internet.
Browser add-ons are fantastic, aren’t they? They allow so much more freedom and customization when surfing the web, which is a premium feature when dealing with a site as in-your-face as Facebook. With these add-ons, you can do something that Facebook has never truly managed to achieve: making their site user-friendly.
If you’re still not happy with Facebook, be sure to check out these 5 best hidden Facebook tricks you should make use of, and if you’re in search of other, non-Facebook add-ons, head over to our Best of Firefox Add-ons page.
What do you think of these add-ons? Know of any others that can improve Facebook browsing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Image Credits: Fox portrait Via Shutterstock