How to foil Facebook's evil plot to steal my eyes?
September 22, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way to block Facebook's sponsored stories (ads) that are suddenly appearing in my news feed on my iPhone?

I don't mean the sponsored stories described here, ads that piggyback on a friend's "Like" and push an ad with it. Those look like this, and are mildly annoying, but I can live with them (though it's interesting that my friend's like is dated April 18, and the ad just showed up in my feed today).

The ads I am talking about are just straight up ads, with no friends attached. I saw the first one Friday, an ad for a bank (the one I paid my student loans back to, coincidentally, and for which I have a deep and abiding loathing), and today this one appeared. Interesting, again, that the date on the ad is September 14, though it appeared in my feed for the first time this afternoon.

These ads only appear on my iPhone, through the FB app. They do not appear in news feeds on either desktop (Mac) or netbook (PC), both of which are running Firefox with AdBlockPlus. And both of which would allow me to unsubscribe to the posters in question.

Googling is finding me lots of stories about the lawsuit for sponsored stories--which seem to mean the first kind of ad--but nothing for how to disable or filter the second kind of sponsored stories. I never see ads on the internet! I have a low threshold for this kind of thing, apparently, because it is making me unreasonably testy, and none of my FB friends share my outrage.
posted by looli to Technology (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know whether it would work with iPhone, but there's an ap I have on Chrome called "Facebook Purity" that gets rid of a WHOLE bunch of crap. It may be worth checking out on the site to see whether they have something iPhoneable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:34 AM on September 22, 2012

Response by poster: Please note that FB Purity will not run on mobile browsers on Iphone or Android, or the IPad / Ipad2 / Ipad3 as they are not compatible.

Bummer. But thanks for the tip.
posted by looli at 9:13 PM on September 22, 2012

If you have another computer on your network that you can run squid on, you can set up a blacklist that blocks the ad server (almost all ads run on quite identifiable third-party domains), then point your phone at it (manual proxy under wireless settings).

This works wonderfully at home, not so great on 3G (unless you set up something like VPN and send all your traffic via your home connection as well, which is doable, but not so convenient).
posted by manyon at 4:07 AM on September 23, 2012

You can install a third-party browser on your phone that includes an ad blocker (like Atomic) and use that for browing Facebook instead of the native app.
posted by bcwinters at 7:50 AM on September 23, 2012

Response by poster: Atomic's filters aren't catching these sponsored stories. (Although they work quite nicely on other sites so thanks for that.) I wonder whether these ads are at all distinguishable from regular non-sponsored news feed items. If they're coming from Facebook itself then am I right that URL based filtering isn't going to work?
posted by looli at 10:50 PM on September 23, 2012

Response by poster: So, in the interests of providing a signpost for anyone with my complaint, what I've done is use FB's custom groups function to create a group with all my people in it, and now I browse on my phone with that, rather than news feed. There don't appear to be any ads (yet) but I haven't been doing it long enough to see whether it's close enough to the news feed experience to be a good substitute.
posted by looli at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2012

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