How to quickly unsubscribe from 'liked' Facebook pages

Facebook Cleanser can help you scrub your feed clean, but you can accomplish much the same thing in Facebook's settings.

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I think one reason people get so fed up with Facebook is that their feeds get so cluttered with junk, they rarely see the things they actually care about -- you know, baby pictures, ice-bucket videos, and friendship-threatening political comments.

That clutter is usually the result of excessive "liking," which I'm guilty of myself because very often you have to "like" a company or product in order to enter a contest. (Even worse, I never win. Unlike!)

Of course, because Facebook's settings are built to confuse, it's not immediately apparent how to remove all those liked pages. Enter Facebook Cleanser, a simple tool designed to make unliking easier. All you do is sign into your account, then wait a bit while it looks up your "likes." To unsubscribe from any of them, you simply click the corresponding Like button. (Seems backward, I know, but remember these are pages you've already liked. Clicking that button is the equivalent of toggling them off.)

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What was I thinking? Unlike! Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Now for the bad news. Perhaps owing to heavy traffic, or perhaps because it's just glitchy, Facebook Cleanser doesn't work particularly well. I tested it using both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, and the results were the same, it found only about a dozen of my liked pages -- out of maybe a hundred or more.

And if you review the comments section at the bottom of the tool's page, you'll see that lots of other users had the same experience. I tried refreshing the page and giving it extra time to populate, but it never did any better.

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I have no recollection of ever liking this in the first place, so...unlike! Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Fortunately, you can accomplish pretty much the same thing by venturing into Facebook's "Pages I like" page. It takes an extra click to unlike something -- once on the little pull-down menu, again on the Unlike option -- but the end result is the same. (Actually, you can mouse over that menu without clicking, but there's still a bit of delay.)

Whatever method you use, it's probably worth spending a few minutes to clear the "like" detritus from your Facebook feed. And who knows? Maybe you'll find the service less of a time-suck now that it's free of all that junk.

 

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