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Retaining Your Sanity On Facebook: How-To Auto Block Facebook Apps

By on Jan 14, 2008 in Tech Takes | 12 comments

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Having given up Orkut as a social NOTworking option recently, some would know that I shifted to Facebook. Being a penguin of principles, I refused to join under any network other than our own DPS VK – and finally got that after a bit of spamming Facebook support.

Facebook is well…WAY more sensible a place than Orkut, any day. It IS losing that semblance of sensibility though as more and more Facebook ‘applications’ get added daily. ‘App spam’ is a big issue for me on Facebook – because every time I login I’ve some 50+ app requests from folks on my friend list. It is VERY irritating to have to refuse all of them individually – stuff like ‘What colour are your eyes?’ or ‘How many toenails does the Great Balkhanistan Mountain Goat have?’ – and each time it’s stuff I don’t need thank you very much, and will simply bloat my profile.

Since my friends take vicious pleasure in Monty Python stuff, I needed a solution, quick. Sad part is, Facebook gives no easy way to, say, block all app requests. You need to INDIVIDUALLY go to each app’s page, and block it – and you can’t even choose a block option directly from the notification page. Fed up with all this, I went on a search for some respite…

…and I got it! Woohoo! So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get Firefox if you don’t have it. IE sucks, OK? Safari sucks, OK? Opera doesn’t, OK?
  2. Install the Greasemonkey plugin for Firefox (in case you don’t have it), here’s where you can find it. No, you won’t have to deal with a very oily simian prat at home. This is what Greasemonkey is…

    Greasemonkey is a Mozilla Firefox extension that allows users to install scripts that make on-the-fly changes to most HTML-based web pages. As the Greasemonkey scripts are persistent, the changes made to the web pages are executed every time the page is opened, making them effectively permanent for the user running the script.

  3. After you’ve done that, restart Firefox. Newer versions will prompt that automatically.
  4. Then, head over to get Auto-Block Facebook Apps Greasemonkey script here. Click on the ‘Install Now’ button – that’d be in the (right) sidebar.
  5. Restart Firefox again, and Greasemonkey will prompt you to allow the script. Do so, duh!
  6. Visit Facebook, and see your misery vanishing in a jiffy.

What the script does is that it searches for any Facebook app request links in your Facebook home page / notification page, and automatically follows through to the ‘Block’ link for it. These blocked Facebook apps can be viewed at this page, and if you feel like, then you can remove any from the block list and add it yourself. Note that this script won’t block existing apps on your profile, or block any apps that you add yourself.

There’s a helluva lot more you can do with Greasemonkey, scripts for which you can find at Userscripts.org. IMHO, it’s the best and a trustworthy place; which doesn’t mean you can add ANY script, because some baddie might just write a malicious one / exploit a flaw in some other to steal critical data from your system. Do keep in mind that too many scripts CAN slow down your browsing experience; and badly written scripts can even crash your browser. Read up the ratings before installing. More on Greasemonkey later.



12 Comments

  1. NamanB

    January 14, 2008

    Post a Reply

    Useful script but I generally ignore invitations.

    And about apps bloating a profile,I’m sure you know that the app box can be removed from the profile,I always do that.

    In any case,app spam is an issue which can bother users

  2. Anonymous

    January 15, 2008

    Post a Reply

    wow why would i ignore invitations? man this is crazy script just like the monkey. You should to indulge in these activities

  3. GQ

    January 15, 2008

    Post a Reply

    @Naman: I gets LOADS of invites, and most of the time, they are the same app from different friends. I know you can remove it from the profile, but again, you need to configure that MANUALLY for each option. That sucks.

    @Anon: Go enjoy Orkut.

    @Sahil: But Safari hasn’t seen much development since it’s release. And if you’ve noticed, after the initial “Ooh-ah” most people say “Oh no” to Safari crashing on Windows.

  4. Anuj

    January 21, 2008

    Post a Reply

    It crashes on windows because it’s windows! Everything crashes on it, including opera which keeps on closing after EVERY comment I make, I think it’s allergic to blogs. May the FSM save us from microsucks (nice one).

  5. ankit balani

    January 22, 2008

    Post a Reply

    nice shit…but does it mean dat u cnt add an app if u want..it later and how do i de install dis …if i havta

  6. GQ

    January 22, 2008

    Post a Reply

    @Ankit Balani: Hey, nice to hear from you after such a long time. Well, here’s the answer to your queries.
    1. It might take some time to confirm if you’ve quite a few apps.
    2. No, it won’t automatically block it. You can still go to an app page and install the thing if you want.
    3. For uninstalling it, go to the Tools menu in Firefox. With Greasemonkey, it’ll have an option called ‘Greasmonkey’. Under that, you’ll find an option ‘Manage user scripts’. Click on that, and on the new window that opens, click on the script for ‘Auto Block Facebook Apps’. Then click the Uninstall button at the bottom of the window. That’s it.

    @Anuj: Really? Well, then the point is since Safari works only on Mac (because it crashes on Windows), then why bother using it? Keeps closing after every comment? Hmm, weird…

  7. ANKIT BALANI

    January 23, 2008

    Post a Reply

    yeh thnx neways dose apps r really stupid except sum wich make facebook worthwhile…i got some 400 app requests and wntd to ignore dem ol 2geder…

  8. NamanB

    February 5, 2008

    Post a Reply

    Facebook has added an option to ignore all invitations.

    When I said that the app box can be removed from the profiles,I meant by clicking the X on the top right.

    Basically what I mean to say is that invites suck,apps don’t.

  9. GQ

    February 5, 2008

    Post a Reply

    @Naman: Yes, but that ‘Ignore All’ option will only be activated if you’ve more than 25 pending invitations. Anyway, I’m not opposed to apps either – just that users themselves should have the choice to add what they want, when they want; rather than being overloaded with hordes of spam-like invitations. As for removing apps invidually from a profile, that is STILL a manual step after all.

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