Facebook permanently banned a developer after he made an app to let users delete their news feed

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  hal-a-lujah  •  2 weeks ago  •  5 comments

By:   Isobel Asher Hamilton

Facebook permanently banned a developer after he made an app to let users delete their news feed
I've been trying to reduce my usage of Facebook for years now, including by making tools like Unfollow Everything. So I'm actually pretty grateful to Facebook that they've helped me take my addiction levels down to a flat zero," he told Insider.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



A developer who designed a tool to let people essentially delete their Facebook news feeds says he was served with a cease-and-desist letter and permanently kicked off the tech giant's platform.

Louis Barclay, a developer in the UK, is the creator of a browser extension called Unfollow Everything. The extension lets users automatically unfollow all their friends and pages on Facebook, leaving their news feed blank. Barclay told Insider people could still connect to their friends and family on Facebook when using the extension.

Barclay published Unfollow Everything on the Google Chrome store in July 2020 and said it attracted attention from researchers at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, who wanted to study the impact of having no news feed on people's happiness on Facebook, as well as the amount of time they spent on the platform.

In July of this year, Barclay received a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook's lawyers, he said. Barclay published a redacted version of the letter online. Insider reviewed an unredacted version to verify its authenticity.

Barclay, who published a Slate article on Thursday detailing his experience, told Insider he received the letter five hours after trying to log into his Facebook account and finding it was disabled.

The letter, from the law firm Perkins Coie, told Barclay that Unfollow Everything broke Facebook's rules on automated collection of user content without Facebook's permission and that it infringed Facebook trademarks.

It also said Facebook's terms prohibited interfering with the "intended operation of Facebook" and encouraging others to break Facebook's rules.

It also informed Barclay he was barred from both Facebook and Instagram.

"I was really scared, and I was very anxious," Barclay told Insider.

Facebook's letter took him by surprise, he said, adding that Unfollow Everything had only 2,500 weekly active users and 10,000 downloads.

"It was definitely growing, but it wasn't huge," he said.

"Apart from that I just very much saw it as something that improves the Facebook experience for Facebook users," he added, saying he got "amazing feedback" from people saying they "were using Facebook in a way that was much healthier for them."

Barclay said he sought legal guidance on whether he could challenge the letter but learned that since he's based in the UK he'd be liable for Facebook's legal costs if he lost.

"Facebook is a trillion-dollar company. I couldn't afford that risk," Barclay wrote in his Slate article.

Barclay said getting banned after having an account on Facebook for 15 years was a blow, especially because he still used the platform, and Facebook Messenger in particular, to stay in touch with friends around the world.

"It's really horrible to have been cut off from that for a reason that feels to me very unfair," Barclay told Insider.

Nonetheless, he sees a silver lining in getting cut off from Facebook.

"I've been trying to reduce my usage of Facebook for years now, including by making tools like Unfollow Everything. So I'm actually pretty grateful to Facebook that they've helped me take my addiction levels down to a flat zero," he told Insider.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.


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Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Hal A. Lujah    2 weeks ago

I’m still the only person I personally know to have never had nor intend to ever have a Facebook or Instagram account.  As demonstrated by this article and the numerous recent articles about what Zuckerberg knows about his creation, these garbage platforms are like crack.  Say no to crack and put the dealer of this filth in his place.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1  Ender  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @1    2 weeks ago

zuckerberg or what ever has Imo always been a crook.

Hell, he stole facebook to begin with.

I never had an account with them and never will.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
1.1.1  seeder  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Ender @1.1    2 weeks ago

Not only that, but very early on he was quoted by someone in the know as saying “you’d have to be an idiot to have a Facebook account” (paraphrasing).  He knew then that it’s not the free service that the masses think it as, it’s just a massive database where you and your information are a product that is being purchased by anyone trying to sell you something or influence you without consequences.  Thinking that this guy cares about the negative impacts of his creation is as naive as thinking that the crack dealer cares about where you plan on sending your kid to college.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

It is not difficult to not get addicted to Facebook or Instagram. All it takes is a small amount of interest in the rest of the internet. 

I think some people just landed on Facebook initially and that is all they do. 

Facebook is the last place I would go to for political information. There are many much more accessible and easy to use sources. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3  Ender    2 weeks ago

The only time I have been on or seen facebook was looking at someone account.

I wasn't impressed.

Twitter seems more fun.

 
 
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