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3 Ways to tone down Facebook’s grip on your attention

Simple steps to make Facebook less addictive

by Kurt Knutsson

Internal documents Facebook never intended the world to see continue to reveal more information about the largest social media network and what they know about their effect on the world.

More specifically, research done in mid-2020 reveals that at least 12.5% of people on Facebook experience detrimental effects it calls “problematic use” like loss of sleep, loss of relationships and loss of productivity in life amongst other negative outcomes.

My initial impulse is to consider what several others have done.  Delete Facebook altogether.   Sure, that’s a real option.  The reality is that I enjoy the connection to friends and family on Facebook too much that I don’t want to trash the whole thing.

What I want to throw out are the constant impulses that come from Facebook’s algorithm trying its damndest to scream for our attention to engage any way it possibly can – no matter how bad it may be for me, you or all of our lives.

There is hope.  In fact, here are some ideas that can help tone down the impulses of Facebook.

First, let me tell you it does not come from pure intentions but just market response from a company copying other tech giants that had already begun offering tools to help measure the time being spent with our technology.  Apple and Google were way ahead of Facebook when it came out with these helpful, yet nearly buried, tools that can help create a healthier balance in life.

3 Ways to make Facebook less addictive and harmful

Mute Notifications by turning on Quiet Mode

  1. Launch Facebook app on iOS or Android (make sure you have updated your app on your phone to the latest software)
  2. Go to your profile by tapping menu on bottom right
  3. Scroll down to Settings & Privacy
  4. Tap Your Time On Facebook
  5. Choose Manage Your Time. This is the area where you can see how much time you spend on Facebook.
  6. Toggle On Quiet Mode

 

Turn on Daily Time Reminder

  1. In the same Manage Your Time area, toggle On Daily Time Reminder
  2. Set the desired max amount of time that you want to allow Facebook to suck you into the social platform
  3. You are actively alerted each day when you approach that set threshold.

 

Turn Off Autoplay for Videos

  1. Launch Facebook app on iOS or Android
  2. Go to your profile by tapping menu on bottom right
  3. Scroll down to Settings & Privacy
  4. Tap Settings
  5. Tap Profile Settings
  6. Scroll way down to Media and Contacts section and tap Videos and Photos
  7. Scroll to Autoplay section and choose Never Autoplay Videos

Now one frustrated programmer went further creating a browser extension called Unfollow Everything.  Learning the hard way, he discovered that the only way to bring peace to his Facebook feed aside from leaving the social media platform was to unfollow people, pages and groups in order to get Facebook’s own algorithm to stop populating his life with notifications and alerts from these sources.

The Unfollow Everything browser extension is free but keep in mind that while the result may be a calmer more tolerable Facebook experience, you cannot undo the unfollowing work that is done without manually re-following which could take hours or days.  Unfollow Everything browser extension add-on is available for Chrome browsers.

The one big takeaway is that we already knew about these harmful aspects of Facebook.  The difference is that now we know Facebook also knew definitively too and had research showing its danger yet did little of anything to stop it.

 



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4 comments

Jacqueline Greenfield November 9, 2021 - 5:31 pm

I was so excited when I saw your commentary on Fox news yesterday. I found out I could get rid of all those pesky automatic videos. I checked your website this evening but the instructions you gave do not apply to PC access. Shoot! Is there a way to get rid of autoplay videos on a PC?????

Reply
Kurt Knutsson November 9, 2021 - 5:56 pm

Hi Jackie – Thanks so much for your note. Here’s the guide for you to accomplish on your PC. https://www.facebook.com/help/1406493312950827
Holler to let me know it all worked out. Best, Kurt

Reply
Jacqueline Greenfield November 11, 2021 - 10:27 am

Thank you so very much for your quick reply. And yes, it worked perfectly. I’m in the Senior age group and navigating the technical aspects of websites doesn’t come easily to us. Blessings Jackie.

Reply
Michael November 10, 2021 - 5:51 am

Kurt and his newsletter page are now my go-to for all things technology security and technology accountability. Thank YOU, Kurt, for the fair and honest reporting and always keeping us on the cutting edge and in the know. A rare commodity these days. /Michael

Reply

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