Story at a glance:

  • Facebook banned a user who developed software to clear people’s News Feeds.
  • Facebook also permanently banned the developer of “Unfollow Everything.”
  • “Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” Facebook’s research allegedly stated, The Wall Street Journal reported.


Facebook has permanently banned a developer who created a tool that allows people to automatically unfollow friends and groups on the platform -- clearing their Newsfeeds while letting them keep their connections to friends and pages. 

The move from the social network site comes after bombshell reporting from The Wall Street Journal that showed Facebook allegedly downplayed the negative effects of Instagram particularly on younger users, allowed COVID-19 misinformation to spread, and failed to effectively respond to human traffickers on the site.

Louis Barclay, the creator of Unfollow Everything, wrote on Twitter that Facebook’s lawyers sent him a cease and desist letter and banned him from the platform for life. 

Unfollow Everything is also no longer active on Facebook. 

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"They told me I'd been banned from Facebook for life because I make Unfollow Everything, an extension to help people use Facebook less," Barclay tweeted.



The tweet also refers to a Slate op-ed he penned.

Barclay wrote in the piece that he’s heard from other users of “Unfollow Everything” that the software helped them use Facebook less and made the platform less addictive. The Swiss University of Neuchâtel partnered with Barclay to study how Facebook’s News Feed affects people’s happiness. 

If Barclay were to sue Facebook over the cease and desist letter, he would have to do it through U.K courts and could not afford to do so against a trillion-dollar company, he wrote in the op-ed. 

Facebook’s News Feed is an essential way for the site to generate revenue and user activity through advertising. 

On 60 Minutes on Sunday, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugensaid that the News Feed keeps people interested in the platforms, which is loaded with advertising, and the time spent on the application translates into the platform making money for hours per user.

In its reporting, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook had been conducting internal surveys about how Instagram affects younger users. The research found the platform to be toxic for teenage girls, something Facebook knew about but did not publicly address, according to The Journal. 

“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” Facebook researchers said in March 2020, according to The Journal. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”

In response, Vice President Head of Research at Facebook Pratiti Raychoudhury has denied the allegations, saying in a Verge article that the WSJ report “is not accurate.”

Published on Oct 08, 2021