24 July 2013


If, like millions of others, you use Facebook; and if, like sane people everywhere, you avoid using Internet Explorer, then you really should be using SocialFixer. SocialFixer helps to eliminate some of the more annoying aspects of FB. I don't use all the options on offer, I doubt anyone does. The main strength of SocialFixer is it allows you to use FB how you want.

One of the main features I like is the tabbed newsfeed. My newsfeed is so full of shared photos and junk that I miss the actual going ons in my friends' lives. With the use of filters, I can push page updates, group posts, shared photos, and 'stuff' to separate tabs. I can even hide posts I just don't want to see.

The filtering use a code system I haven't used before. I'm familiar with the code needed for Microsoft macros and database programming and I'm familiar with standard Boolean code. I have never used "regular expressions" before. It's taken a bit of trial and error to work out how to filter my FB newsfeed just how I want, so I thought I'd share.

The basics (that I use and as I understand, and I'm open to helpful comments) are:

  • use a / to open and close an argument /this is my argument/
  • use a | to denote a "or" option /search for this|that/
  • use i after the argument to make case irrelevant /search Upper or lower case/i
  • .* searches for wildcards i.e. a string of characters of varying lengths and types (I can never remember how to search for an actual fullstop/period, so I don't use them in my filter strings)

My current filters are below. The filter string that I use in shown in blue. I've given some examples of the types of posts it picks up. I've used grey to show text that isn't included the filter, and orange to show text that is picked up by the wildcard (.*)
/added .* photo|was tagged in .*'s photo/i  - moves to Photos tab
Jane added 6 photos
Bill added a new photo
Bill added 6 new photos
Bill was tagged in Jane's photos

/shared .*'s photo|shared .*'s status update|likes a photo|.* (shared|likes) a link/i - moves to Shares tab
Jane shared Bill's photo
Jane shared Bill's status update
Bill likes a photo
Bill shared a link
Bill likes a link

One could argue why not simply use /shared .*'s/ or even /shared .*/ rather than including two strings with 'photo' and 'status update'? I have found that sometimes the more definitive string is safer. A friend may post a status update along the lines of "I shared Bill's coffee" or "We shared a coffee", which is not the same as sharing Bill's viral photo.

/added .*|changed .* profile picture|updated .* cover photo/i - moves to "Timeline" tab
Jane added Bill as a friend
Jane changed her profile picture
Jane updated his cover photo

/Group Name|Group Name/i - moves to Groups tab
Simply copy the group name from your list and use in the filter. Be aware of punctuation that requires code to be read as actual punctuation. As I mentioned, I can never remember it, so I just use 'bits' of my group names, to avoid the full stops and the like.

Pages - in the far left column of the filtering tab of SocialFixer, is a list of your friends. At the bottom of this list is a list of your pages. Simply highlight all of them, and move them to a "Pages" tab.

These five filters save me a lot of "argh" moments. My home tab is mainly status updates directly from my friends and not repeated rubbish. I'm sure there are other "standard" posts pushed through by FB; as I find them I add them to my filter strings.

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