11:11 13th Oct, 2021
Facebook Banned the Creator of 'Unfollow Everything | TechTree.com
Facebook Banned the Creator of 'Unfollow Everything
Developer Louis Barclay created an extension called ‘Unfollow Everything’ which completely removed Facebook users' News Feed by mass-unfollowing friends and pages.
Facebook banned and threatened a developer after he created an extension to allow users to disable their news feed
Developer Louis Barclay created an extension called ‘Unfollow Everything’ which completely removed Facebook users' News Feed by mass-unfollowing friends and pages. This would leave users’ newsfeed completely blank, but would still allow users to connect to their Facebook friends.
Unfollowing is not the same as unfriending, if you unfollow pages/groups/people you can still remain connected to them and look up their profiles if you want to.
As a consequence, he was served a cease-and-desist letter and permanently banned from Facebook.
Barclay published ‘Unfollow Everything’ on the Google Chrome store in July 2020 and said it drew attention from researchers at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Researchers from that University wanted to study the effects of not having a news feed on both people's happiness and how much time people spent using Facebook.
In July of this year, Barclay received a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook's lawyers. A redacted version of the letter is now online. He received the letter five hours after trying and failing to log into his Facebook account because it was disabled.
Law firm Perkins Coie sent the letter which stated that ‘Unfollow Everything’ violated Facebook's rules on automated collection of user content without Facebook's permission and that it also infringed Facebook trademarks.
The letter also mentioned that Facebook's terms prohibit interfering with the “intended operation of Facebook” and encouraging others to break Facebook's terms.
Finally, the letter stated that Barclay was banned from using Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook's letter shocked him because ‘Unfollow Everything’ only had 2,500 weekly active users and 10,000 downloads, but it was slowly growing in popularity. All he wanted to do was improve
“I just very much saw it as something that improves the Facebook experience for Facebook users," Barclay added, saying he got “amazing feedback” from people voicing that they “were using Facebook in a way that was much healthier for them.”
Barclay said he sought legal guidance on whether he could challenge the letter but learned that since he's based in the UK, he'd be liable for Facebook's legal costs if he lost, which is too big a risk since Facebook is a billion dollar company.
Getting cut off from Facebook after using it for 15 years was devastating, because he could no longer be in touch with his social circle, which included friends from around the world. But the silver lining, as he says, is that he had been trying to reduce his Facebook usage for years so in a way he’s grateful to Facebook by bringing his addiction level down to a big fat zero.
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