Facebook banned a developer from using its tool permanently. This developer created a tool that allowed users to automatically unfollow friends or groups on Facebook.
Facebook Bans Unfollowing Everything Developer
Louis Barclay is the developer and creator of “Unfollow Everything”. He wrote an article for Slate about his experiences using the tool.
He stated that the feeling of not following everything was “near miraculous” and that he hadn’t lost anything since he could still visit his favorite friends and groups by going directly to them.
Barclay said that he had so much control over the account that he wasn’t tempted to scroll through the News Feed.
He stated that his Facebook spending had decreased significantly and that his addiction to Facebook was manageable.
“Unfollow Everything” is a browser extension that allows users to delete their News Feed content. According to The verge, it allows them to delete all their connections at once.
It allows users to unfollow friends, groups and pages. It will remove their content from your News Feed. It automatically cleaned up the News Feed and did so instantly.
Cease and Desist Letter
Facebook wrote Barclay a cease and desist letter several months ago. It stated that Barclay had violated the platform’s terms of service by creating software which automated user interactions according to TechSpot.
Barclay claimed that his Instagram and Facebook accounts were permanently deleted by the social media company.
He was also required by the company to promise not to create tools that could affect the platform or any of its services.
Barclay points out that, in addition to helping users, his tool was also used at the Swiss University of Neuchatel by researchers to study the impact of the News Feed’s effects on user happiness and mental health. He stated that he couldn’t risk suing the company in court and so he removed his tool.
Barclay’s story was published just as Facebook is dealing with another internal problem. Frances Haugen from Facebook, the whistleblower, testified before Congress this week about the company’s desire for “growth,” at the expense of its user’s well being.
Haugen stated that users are responsible for the profits in an episode of 60 Minutes. She leaked documents from internal research that was conducted by the company. It shows how Instagram can lead to body problems and mental health issues in teens.
Barclay’s story differs from Haugen’s. Facebook’s terms and conditions are very clear about the tools that users can create, and “Unfollow Everything” violated them.
The episode gives the public a glimpse into Facebook’s strategy towards its users. It also reveals how Facebook wants to make its users believe they have control, when in reality they don’t.
Although the company allows users to unfollow individuals, automating the process would allow them to remove their News Feed. This is necessary to keep the platform’s traffic flowing and would be very helpful.
Barclay’s tool will stop the platform getting advertising revenue. Barclay’s tool has been forbidden.
Facebook has not responded to Barclay’s story.
We’ve contacted Facebook about this story and will update if we hear back.