Hacking Facebook to remove the social value facade

We see [Ben Grosser's] point that all the metrics found on the Facebook user interface make the experience somewhat of a game to see if you can better your high score. He thinks this detracts from the mission of having social interactions that themselves have a value. So he set out to remove the ‘scores’ from all Facebook pages with a project he calls the Facebook Demetricator.

You can see two UI blocks above. The upper offering is what a normal user will see. The lower is the page seen through the lens of the Demetricator. [Ben's] feels it doesn’t matter how many people like something or share something, but only that you are genuinely interested in it. With the numbers removed you’re unlikely to follow the herd mentality of only clicking through to things that are liked by a huge number of people. He explains this himself in the clip after the break.

The Demetricator works much like the Reddit Enhancement Suite. It’s a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that selectively strips out the metrics as the page renders.

Comments

  1. Karl says:

    I still prefer the “antisocial” plugin for adblock:
    http://adblockplus.org/en/subscriptions
    removes all thise like,poke,share buttons completely.
    I’m not using facebook, so I prefer the web without their tags everywhere.

    • ino says:

      thank you for the link. I was getting tired of adding the rules myself.

    • SuperNurd says:

      Not to be an ass, but I believe you mean asocial, meaning does not take part in the “average” social realm of the world nor does he enjoy it, where as antisocial is something of a view like “I want to watch the world burn” (most likely literaly) or if someone attempts to start a conversation with you you go to their house and stab their cat. A mild difference I would say, and the only reason I know this is because I was tired of being called antisocial, and after enough research, I argued with people who called me antisocial by saying that I’m actualy asocial and that the lifestyle realy pays off.

      • nem says:

        I believe karl said “antisocial” because that’s the name of the adblock filter.

        I take it as meaning “against the so called social buttons” which are nothing social really, they’re called social for marketing reasons, works better than “metrics used to track you around the web, profile your interests and usage to resell to advertisers and clients”

      • heffnut says:

        SuperNurd,
        I believe he meant the name of the adblock subscription to get the function he describes. It’s called “antisocial”, not “asocial”. There is a homepage link and references to who named the list there, you can probably email them instead.

      • e10 says:

        @SuperNurd: Actually, antisocial describes any action going against the “norm” or anything socially acceptable. For example, binge drinking in a childrens park would be called “antisocial” behaviour.

  2. Will says:

    I’m not a facebook user, but isn’t this just a case of taking something that isn’t awfully useful and making it even less useful? IN the first instance, it conveys information of debatable value, in the second, it just wastes space.

    • Will says:

      Also, I’m not seeing clip after the break.

    • jbleau says:

      I can see where they were going with this. The bummer, though, is that facebook defaults to showing you the ‘most important stories’ by some unknown hidden metric, so even if you can’t tell how popular it is, it’s still manipulating what you see. It will hide friends stories that it things you don’t want to see based on how often you interact with them. I dislike this personally. I’d love if this plugin let ‘show most recent’ be the default view, as well as showing ‘all’ friends posts (this may not be trivial.)

  3. angus says:

    Of course I’m happy when my posts have a large number of comments. But that’s because it generally means I’m involved in an interesting conversation with friends. I’m not happy because of the numerals themselves that are displayed on the screen, or because I got a “high score”.

    Taking the numbers away only removes functionality. It doesn’t magically put more meaning or value into social interactions.

    > you’re unlikely to follow the herd mentality of only clicking through to things that are liked by a huge number of people.

    People actually do that?

    • edonovan says:

      I don’t think it has anything to do with the herd mentality. People click on things with higher numbers because it’s likely interesting if so many other people like it.

      Personally, after a while of looking at what the majority of people on facebook finds interesting, I have learned to ignore everything on facebook.

  4. tomhodson says:

    Love this.

  5. Don says:

    There is no reason to remove the timestamp on the post though. “Recently” doesn’t convey “12 hours ago” to me

  6. lin says:

    i want to see a dislike button

  7. rasz says:

    I just kill everything with *facebook.com/* in it

  8. Ren says:

    Does this mean that HackADay will stop putting the metric by their comment link? B^)

  9. Joe Bonasses says:

    You had better be EXTREMELY careful…. Zuckerberg and his programming nazis can have you eliminated, you know this, right?

  10. touristtam says:

    Karl: thanks for that. :)

    I would like to “like” that

  11. alhunter says:

    *sigh* even more that don’t actually strip the page elements out. Replacing that stuff with blank space is still an absolute waste of space.

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