Stop showing me suffering animals
March 28, 2023 5:29 AM   Subscribe

A little while ago, facebook suddenly started showing me a huge number of "suggested posts" with videos of dogs and occasionally other animals being "rescued" from abuse, starving, dying, and similar horrible situations that I'm guessing are done intentionally. They seem like a very low budget, much more terrible version of the dodo dog rescue videos that used to show up a lot before these replaced them, like the video-equivalent of cheap Amazon knockoffs. Is there any way at all to block these from showing up?

I've tried:

-doing nothing for awhile when they first showed up to avoid "engaging" at all, then:
-clicking the X which facebook claims will show less content like that (obviously this is a blatant lie)
-clicking the snooze for 30 days option (they're all different sources so this does nothing)
-I've never once, even accidentally, clicked through to watch any of these awful videos, and I scroll past as quickly as possible

All with no change. It really bothers me to see all the horrible pictures (every video displays an image of a suffering animal even without clicking anything) as I'm scrolling past.

Please don't suggest that I quit facebook or start a new account. I'm not doing that. If there's no other solution I guess I'll live with it.

Is there any way to block these videos or to somehow convince facebook algorithms that I genuinely do not want to see suffering animals on my feed even if it's supposedly an "inspiring" story?
posted by randomnity to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
if they're suggested facebook reels then i've found the "show less (desktop) / hide reel (app)" button is pretty good at reducing a certain genre of video that facebook is pushing at you. you will have to click the video to get to the show less button. this article talks about the issue and i'm suggesting #4.
posted by noloveforned at 5:56 AM on March 28

Best answer: i might also suggest watching a different type of reel so that facebook puts you in another bucket that you find less offensive. you might have a friend/family member pro-actively 'curate' what you're seeing by watching videos that are safe and "show less"ing videos that you won't like.
posted by noloveforned at 6:00 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, I also think the best way is to put in positive reinforcement. This is why I click on women comedians and anything with people playing instruments. Or maybe bike/skateboard tricks. I don't love that stuff, but I don't really want to watch videos on FB anyway. The point is all are huge pools that FB will love to show you more of, and they are vastly better than the bad content you want to avoid.

You don't have to pick those, but if you can find few types that you know are popular and inoffensive to you, you can change your reel feed to be 95% that. If you don't find anything inoffensive in your first round of suggestions, sometimes there's better stuff to the right.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:17 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]

Do you have any Friends who make animal-related posts? You could try “Snoozing” or temporarily “Unfollowing” them, neither of which should be visible to them. I’ve noticed that the third-party content I get served seems to have something to do with the interests of the Friends who are more active on FB, and maybe whose posts I interact with (not even commenting or liking, just clicking to view comments).
posted by staggernation at 6:34 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's an extension called FB Purity that lets you customize your Facebook feed in a number of fairly robust ways. I got it to hide ads and sponsored posts (and Facebook does often tinker with the code to get around that, but the extension developer is good about trying to tweak his own code and fix it again), but it also lets you filter out specific images or even posts with specific words; like, if you have a friend who keeps on talking about her new puppy "Booby-Shoes" and you are sick of hearing about it, but you're cool hearing everything else from your friend, you could set up a filter for "Booby-Shoes" and it would screen out just those posts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]

(Forgot to add: I have totally used that specific-words filter in FB purity to filter out my friends' posts about Wordle and it works perfectly.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]

Seconding the rec for FB Purity, it is superb.
posted by Rhedyn at 8:41 AM on March 28

Note: FB Purity only runs on desktop computers. It won’t work on a phone.
posted by manageyourexpectations at 10:08 AM on March 28

I shop for reading glasses in the same browser, and then click on the ads I get for reading glasses in Fb. So I get ads for reading glasses, plus whatever I search for if I answer an Ask.Me shopping question. I also use AdBlock Plus, which reduces ads quite a bit. Fb purity uses too much memory because I tend to have too many tabs open.
posted by theora55 at 10:11 AM on March 28

Response by poster: Thank you all! I tried FB purity and it is exactly as amazing as advertised. Problem thoroughly solved on desktop.

I'll also be trying the other strategy to adjust the algorithms on my phone. If there are any helpful apps to help with this on android, please share.
posted by randomnity at 5:17 AM on March 29

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