Some people love the cut and thrust of political discussion on Facebook. Others find it repetitious or annoying. If you’re sick of seeing US election news or local political arguments in your feed, we’ll show you how to filter them out.
Image remixed from Globe Turner, LLC
We’re not advocating ignoring everything that happens in politics, but the reality is that Facebook is hardly the ideal medium to keep yourself informed. Dialling down the political content can make Facebook a friendlier place and leave you with more time to pursue other information.
Step One: Install Social Fixer
First, you'll need to download the Social Fixer extension for your browser. If you haven't heard of it, it's an amazing tool that makes Facebook infinitely better in oh-so-many ways, including filtering out posts you don't like. If you don't already have it, head to the Social Fixer homepage and download it for your browser. Once it's installed, head to Facebook and choose the "Minimal Installation" option when prompted, so it doesn't change too much out of the gate.
Step Two: Filter Political Status Updates
Next, head to Social Fixer's options, which you'll find in the blue bar at the top of Facebook. Head down to the Filters section in the right sidebar. You can create all sorts of complicated filters, but our example filter is simple: we just want to hide posts with words pertaining to the election. Under "Matching Text", type the following:
A more Australian filter might run as follows:
When you're done, check the "Hide" box -- this tells Social Fixer to hide posts including those words -- and then click Save at the top. Notice that the filter is case sensitive, so for some words you'll want to add both capitalised and lower-case versions. You can add any other words you want;Just put a vertical pipe (the | character) in between each term. If you return to Facebook, you should see those political posts are missing, which means Social Fixer has done its job.
Step Three: Filter Political Links
That will filter out any status updates, but it won't work for pictures and links. You can't filter out political images, unfortunately, but you can filter out links with a slightly more complicated filter. Head back to Social Fixer's options and click "Add New Filter", putting the following text in the "Matching Selector" box:
Again, add any other words you want, separated by a vertical pipe, and check the Hide box. This will filter out any links that contain those words in the URL. So, it won't remove every political link you might come across, but it will handle the majority. Click Save and return to Facebook.
Obviously, you'll want to tweak each of these filters to fit your specific friends and pet peeves. When you're done, you can reload Facebook to find a less annoying, less politically-charged news feed.
If you want to do this same thing on other sites -- like Twitter or YouTube -- check out our guide to avoiding rumours and spoliers online. Most of those rules should apply to political annoyances, too.