San Francisco, October 8: Facebook has reportedly banned from its site a developer who created a tool that allows people to automatically unsubscribe from their friends and groups on the platform.
Louis Barclay was the creator of “Unsubscribe Everything,” a browser extension that allowed Facebook users to essentially delete their news feed by unsubscribing from all of their connections at once, reported The Verge.
Facebook allows users to individually unsubscribe from friends, groups, and pages, which removes their content from the news feed, the algorithmically controlled heart of Facebook.
Barclay’s tool automated this process, instantly wiping out users’ news feed.
“I still remember the feeling of not following everything for the first time. It was almost miraculous. I hadn’t lost anything because I could still see my favorite friends and bands by going straight to them,” Barclay wrote. about his experience with the tool. in a recent article for Slate.
“But I had gained astonishing control. I was no longer tempted to scroll through an endless stream of content. The time I spent on Facebook decreased dramatically. Overnight, my Facebook addiction became manageable,” he added.
In response, Facebook sent Barclay a cease and desist letter earlier this year, claiming it violated the site’s terms of service by creating software that automates user interactions.
Barclay said the company then “permanently disabled my Facebook and Instagram accounts” and “demanded that I never again create any tools that interact with Facebook or its other services.”
Barclay notes that in addition to helping users, its “Cancel Everything” tool was used by researchers at the Swiss University of Neuchâtel to study the effects of the News Feed on people’s happiness.
He said he couldn’t risk getting tangled up in court with a trillion dollar company like Facebook and therefore simply deleted the tool.
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