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Making Facebook less addictive

August 01, 2017 — Glyn Faulkner

Facebook is designed to be compelling. Their business model depends on it. To attract the advertisers who are their customers (you are their product) they need to keep you mindlessly scrolling down the unending wall of other people's posts, adverts and auto-play videos, and to frequently distract you from thoughts of all the other things you should be doing with real-time notifications and instant messages.

Every new post you see, and every like someone leaves on your latest comment is a little shot of dopamine to your primitive primate brain that makes you just a little more addicted to using the site.

However much you may dislike Facebook the site, or Facebook the company and its business practises, its ubiquity and its utility make leaving altogether a difficult proposition.

How then can you retain the benefits of Facebook while circumventing the design elements that make it such a time-sink?

The answer is Facebook's own mobile-basic version. It does next-to-nothing automatically. Your feed is paginated ten posts at a time, and you have to click to see the next ten. Your notifications don't update until you click something or refresh the page.

In short, it's as irritating as hell to use. Which is good, if you're serious about avoiding being sucked in. If you find yourself in need of the full site, just replace "mbasic" with "www" in the URL bar of your browser for the same page in the normal version.

Bonus power-up: access Facebook via a browser bookmark to https://mbasic.facebook.com/menu/bookmarks and you won't even see other people's posts without deliberately clicking on something!

It's a much less enjoyable experience than using the main site, but that's the whole point, right?

Tags: facebook, productivity

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