Friday 23 September 2011

How to Fix the New Facebook Chat and News Feed

If you haven’t noticed already, yesterday Facebook began rolling out a couple of changes to its news feed system that aren’t rubbing users the right way. Instead of being able to sort posts by “Top Stories” or “Most Recent,” users are now required to use a sort of clunky hybrid version that merges the two together.

Instead of giving users the choice to manage their feeds as they desire, Facebook decided it knows what’s best and implemented a secret algorithm that scans your friends’ posts and pushes them to the top, regardless of how old they are. It can get pretty annoying trying to keep up with everything, especially when posts are being randomly thrown around.

If you want to continue using Facebook for whatever reason, but can’t stand all of the new changes over the past couple of months, then it’s about time that you checked out Better Facebook.

Better Facebook is a free browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Greasemonkey. Once installed, it allows you to mange how posts show up in your feed in a variety of ways. You can permanently hide posts that have already been read, or just temporarily hide them until someone else comments on it. You can even enable tabbed news feeds, which separates your friends’ posts from applications like FarmVille into separate tabs for later viewing (or complete ignoring).

Better Facebook also restores the chat to its former glory as a small box in the bottom right, instead of the giant list of randomly selected online and offline users on the right hand side. How you’re supposed to chat with an offline user is beyond me.

If you really want to get fancy, there is an entire list of over 75 options that can be tweaked to make Facebook work the way you want it to, instead of the way Mark Zuckerburg thinks is best. These include filtering out different types of posts, links, updates, and friends you want to ignore. You can even block posts from certain applications altogether if you want.

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