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Facebook has become a one size fits all social networking platform. The typical News Feed is filled with randomly mixed updates from friends, family, colleagues, and various pages. While you may want to see all of those posts, at least sometimes, you might not want to see all of them at the same time.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t really offer easy solutions to prune or categorize the News Feed Do You See Too Much From Too Many People? Manage Your Facebook News Feed with Ease Do You See Too Much From Too Many People? Manage Your Facebook News Feed with Ease If you are spending too much time on Facebook, digging through updates you don't really care about, only to randomly discover what you are really interested in, and while feeling overwhelmed or guilty for wasting... Read More . The News Feed managing options that do exist all require tedious manual intervention, like editing settings for individual friends or creating friends lists Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Is Facebook driving you crazy? Most people who use Facebook generally view the home feed in its unfiltered form, which means they're seeing updates from friends, acquaintances and pages all lumped in together and shown... Read More . Good luck with that if you have more than a couple of friends.

So Facebook makes it really hard to carefully select the updates you want to see in your News Feed. Fortunately, there are tools out there that demonstrate what a good solution could look like and they actually work. Social Fixer, formerly known as Better Facebook, is a browser plugin for most browsers (not IE), that can help you clean up, sort, and categorize your News Feed, among other things.

Installing & Setting Up Social Fixer

Social Fixer is available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, several other browsers (not IE), and as the original Greasemonkey Javascript. After installing the browser plugin, head over to Facebook and complete the Social Fixer Setup Wizard. Select ‘Minimalist Settings’ if you want to give this a slow start. The plugin can be overwhelming at first and you can still enable more tweaks and settings as you get more comfortable with it.

This post will focus on filtering content for your News Feed, which is also the second step in the Setup Wizard. If you have ever wished you could automatically separate application and game posts from other posts, you will be delighted to see that this is one of Social Fixer’s default features. But of course you can also turn it off, in case you want to continue seeing those updates.

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Setting Up Filters In Social Fixer

To set up content filters, we need to dive deeper into Social Fixer’s options. Click the Social Fixer icon in the Facebook toolbar and select Edit Social Fixer Options.

This opens a settings window with an intimidating amount of options. Quickly switch to Filtering before you get distracted and lose yourself in other compelling options.

Social Fixer provides a thorough documentation for its filtering option. Briefly, you have four different columns: Author, Application, Other, and Action. Whatever you select in the first two columns is processed through the filter set in Other and submitted to the selected Action. If you don’t make a selection in the first two columns, but define a matching text in Other, then all authors and all applications are filtered for the matching text.

The documentation describes how to use the CSS class. Essentially, you’ll need to write your own formatting in the Styles (CSS) tab and then use the CSS class you defined for your filter. Note that the documentation appears to be outdated as it shows a Type column next to Author. If you are completely clueless when it comes to CSS, try the Social Fixer CSS Snippets for some ideas.

You can set up as many filters as you want. Additional filters can be added via the respective buttons. Prioritize filters by moving them up or down and pause or delete them by clicking the respective button on the right-hand side.

Example Uses

Social Fixer can be used to filter posts on your News Feed into different tabs or to highlight, minimize, or hide selected updates. For example I separate real people from pages, filter for several keywords to not miss updates I’m really interested in, and highlight posts from key people in various colors.

The matching text field offers a powerful way to filter posts by content. For example you could hide or minimize all posts that mention ‘chocolate’. Several keywords can be connected using regular expressions.

Example: /chocolate|sweets|candy|/i

Via matching selector you can catch images and links that contain certain keywords.

Example: a[href*=”pope|rome|church|catholic”

Example: img[src^=”https://fbcdn-sphotos“]

What are you going to filter for?

Conclusion

Social Fixer Filtering offers a powerful way of customizing your News Feed by weeding out distractions, extracting updates by topic, separating real people updates from pages, or even visually changing posts. It is a bit of an effort to set it up, but the result is a more useful News Feed, which lets you focus on the updates that matter most to you.

Note that if you want to selectively share your own updates, you won’t get around creating custom lists Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Is Facebook driving you crazy? Most people who use Facebook generally view the home feed in its unfiltered form, which means they're seeing updates from friends, acquaintances and pages all lumped in together and shown... Read More . They can even be used to hide yourself from people on your friends list Decide Which Facebook Friends See You Online & Which Don't, The Easy Way Decide Which Facebook Friends See You Online & Which Don't, The Easy Way Facebook is great and the chat function makes it even better. However, we all have at least one "friend" who always talks to us while we’re online. Or, if you’re really unlucky, more than one... Read More . Curious to learn more about Facebook? Check out our (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide Time to lock your Facebook settings and private profile information. Facebook doesn't make this easy, however; features are constantly added and the default for each new one seems to favor transparency instead of privacy. Read More .

Do you manage to get through your News Feed on a daily basis and how do you manage? Please share what you have learned with your fellow readers in the comments below!

  1. Mike Vertx
    March 9, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Great find! Thanks for sharing, installed, and love it!

  2. John Rabab
    March 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    This app works but is quite confusing as it provides too many options in a tabbed format. I found another app on the chrome store that i actually find much more easy to use with many similar features. Maybe you could review it: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fabulous/ambjmeohlajelahhhniggkkceagdlcgj

    • Tina
      March 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, John. Does Fabulous also offer custom filters? The description sounds like it can only block ads and sponsored stories. Seems to be quite different from what Social Fixer can do.

  3. Gideon Waxfarb
    March 7, 2013 at 1:04 am

    Somebody should make something like this for Google+ ... a filter list that works at the very LEAST. I'll give you $100 if you do :P

  4. Garris Rago
    March 7, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Oh lord I have to try this app, it's...perfect. Well it seems so anyway, I'll try it out when I can get back on my PC

    • Tina
      March 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Did you actually try the app before Facebook introduced the native sorting feature?

      • Seb Short
        March 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm

        Annoyingly, I'm still not at my house due to construction so have not even been able to try it out yet :(

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