October 24, 2013, 5:56 PM — Facebook can be one of the biggest productivity-sappers there is. But it needn't be. Here are five free downloads to fix some of Facebook's worst annoyances, and to help protect your privacy.
Adblock Plus has long been a great browser add-in for blocking ads and pop-ups, including video ads. The latest version, though, goes well beyond that, and offers a host of ways to fix some of Facebook's most annoying annoyances. With it, you can block ads, sponsored stories, and promoted posts on Facebook, as well as various news feed irritations, and sidebar annoyances such as "rate movies." It's the single best way to cut down on the frustrations and annoyances you'll find on Facebook.
This browser add-in does plenty to streamline and ease your Facebook use, including filtering your news feed in multiple ways, including keyword and author; hiding parts of Facebook pages you don't want to see; hiding posts that you're already read; fixing your timeline; and more.
When you're logged into Facebook, it follows you around the Web using Facebook Connect, and then sends information about sites you visit back to Facebook. That's why you'll often see on various Web sites comments that friends of yours have made there, or see their activity -- Facebook Connect does that.
The free Facebook Disconnect add-on for Chrome, Firefox or Safari blocks Facebook Connect from tracking you, but you'll still be able to use Facebook. When you visit webpages, you won't see traces of your friends, or the annoying Facebook Like button.
This add-in for Chrome and Firefox scans your Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn accounts, looks for potential privacy issues, advises on what you should do, then takes you to the settings so that you can change them. It's particularly useful because Facebook constantly changes its privacy policies and settings, but PrivacyFix keeps up to date on them and warns you when you need to take action.
This Chrome extension hides the Facebook Ticker, and changes your Newsfeed back to showing latest stories first. If you'd like, you can toggle it on and off.