I’ll admit up front that I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.
I absolutely love the platform as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. I enjoy reading about the adventures my friends are experiencing. I feel their pain when things go wrong. And I love seeing photos of their kids as they grow up.
According to my Facebook profile, I joined that community on Sept. 9, 2007. For years, my activity on Facebook was sporadic because, frankly, it was a pain-in-the-neck to spend time on the platform.
First, the ads. My goodness! I understand the platform needs to make money, but it’s one of the largest tech companies in the world. In 2022, Facebook reported revenue of $116.6 billion dollars and a profit of $23.2 billion. So, do we really have to see an ad inserted every four to five posts on our newsfeeds?
I ask that question because, despite bringing in enough profit annually to stuff 23 33-story skyscrapers floor to ceiling with $1,000 bills, the firm apparently does not employ humans to do any work. Everything is done by robots.
Right now, I’m at war with the Facebook robots. My account has been “temporarily restricted” nine times in the past three months for “violating community standards.” Yet, the robots never explain what standard was violated, nor is it possible to actually speak to a human being at Facebook. That’s a story for another day.
In addition to the incessant ads on Facebook, there is also widespread concern about privacy of personal information, and censorship of conservative and Christian speech. During elections, Facebook is a despicable sewer of political content designed to get you angry and keep you trapped in an echo chamber of angry voices.
One of the biggest disadvantages of Facebook is its algorithm, a complex computer code which guesses what content you want to see based on what you’ve already liked or commented on. Once you click on one thing, you’ll see more of the same whether you want it or not.
I shut down my Facebook account more than once because I was tired of wading through the endless ads and political nonsense. Then I discovered FB Purity, and it changed my entire Facebook experience.
This free browser extension is aptly named because it truly busts through a lot of fluff. I am sure the developer came up with the term “fluff-busting” in order to circumvent trademark laws and avoid imperial entanglements with Facebook’s high-priced lawyers.
It works with Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera and Maxthon browsers. Installing it is as easy as visiting the FB Purity website at www.fbpurity.com while using the browser you typically use to surf the internet. Then click on the word “Install,” which is the second option from the left on the big blue bar.
The FB Purity website will detect which browser you are using and install the proper extension for you. If you have trouble, any Millennial or Digital Native should be able to help you get it done very easily.
Once the extension is installed, the next time you visit Facebook, sit back and enjoy a whole new experience!
My favorite features of FB Purity include:
- NO ADS — the extension works to block ads from appearing on your newsfeed. Not some, not most, not many, but ALL ads. That alone is worth the install.
- Stop videos from autoplaying. I’ve used this feature for so long that I can’t remember what it was like to scroll through Facebook only to have a video automatically start playing. The autoplay function is replaced with a “click to play” feature. When you see a video, now it will have a play button on it. Just click the arrow to start the video.
- Set the newsfeed to “most recent” posts. This way you can see posts from your online friends in the order it was posted on Facebook. Without the feed set to “most recent,” Facebook determines what you see and in what order. The downfall of this feature is that, if you have a lot of friends who don’t post regularly, you may not see their content.
- Find out who has unfriended you. Each time you log onto Facebook, the FB Purity app scans your friends list to see if anyone is missing who was on that list the last time you logged in. This feature alone has yielded several surprises for me in the past.
- FB Purity’s custom text filter has been a godsend. You can enter keywords or phrases into the settings box. Then the app analyzes the text of any post to see if it contains one of those words. If it does, the software removes it from your newsfeed so you don’t ever see it. For example, I have mine set to eliminate any post that has the words “Republican,” “Republicans,” “Democrat,” or “Democrats” in it. Caution: This feature does not eliminate memes or photos that contain those words. However, it does work wonders in reducing needless noise and frustration.
- Hide “Rooms,” Stories” and “Reels” — all the things that Facebook adds to its platform in hopes of making it look like a different social media site.
Those are just a few of my favorite things FB Purity does to improve my Facebook experience. There are more than 100 settings you can tweak to change how things are displayed or what is omitted when you use Facebook. You can see a complete list by visiting www.fbpurity.com/features.htm.
Ironically, FB Purity even has a fan page on Facebook. You will find it at www.facebook.com/fluffbustingpurity.
If you like how FB Purity enhances your time on Facebook, consider donating a few bucks to Steve Fernandez, the developer from the United Kingdom who invests his time to make everyone else’s online experience more enjoyable.
Watch The Social Dilemma
If you’ve never seen the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, I strongly encourage you to do so.
It is an eye-opening exposé of how all social media platforms are designed to hook you in, get you addicted and keep you coming back for a regular fix. Remember, drug dealers and social media sites don’t have customers, they have users due to their addictive properties.
One of the most memorable scenes from The Social Dilemma was the explanation that when you’re looking at your computer screen while on a social media site, imagine 1,000 of the highest-paid computer programmers and marketing experts staring back at you trying to figure out what you’ll do next so they can do something to influence your behavior.
It’s scary stuff.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.