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Tech Check: Free download makes Facebook ‘less annoying’

by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 20 at 11:40 AM

HOUSTON -— Facebook is back in the news after claims the social network is trying to shut down a free web browser extension that hides advertisements on the website.

The free program is called “FB Purity.”

Essentially, it works to get rid of all the changes the social network has made in the last couple of years. When you install it to your web browser, like Firefox or Safari, it takes all the changes and reverses them.

It moves all the items in your Timeline and puts them in one column, similar to how Facebook looked before the Timeline layout. It also fixes the newsfeed so it doesn’t hide certain posts, and, probably the thing Facebook really doesn’t like, it hides sponsored posts and advertisements.

On Wednesday, FB Purity’s creator posted a message on his website saying Facebook’s legal team contacted him and notified him he would be banned from the social network. They also questioned his use of the letters FB in his product’s name, but he says FB doesn’t stand for the trademarked term “Facebook.” It stands for “Fluff Busting.”

In Facebook’s defense, the website is now a publicly traded company that has to turn a profit, so it should be of no surprise the social network doesn’t like something that removes ads. But because this program isn’t misusing the website’s data in anyway (it’s not any form of hacking) some experts say there’s nothing Facebook can do to shut it down. All they can do is block the guy who created it and hope that slows him down from developing it any further.

What do you think? Does Facebook have the right to try and shut down this program?

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