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Seven smart tricks to clean up and simplify your Facebook experience

Nobody likes change, but for the most part, there's little we can do about it. Facebook is counting on us to set aside our dislike for some of its recent changes long enough for them to become familiar, but we don't have to settle for less. Learn how to simplify and roll back your Facebook experience in this blog post.

Every popular Web service has experienced the cycle: Roll out changes, experience massive user backlash, modify changes somewhat, wait for users to get used to the new system, repeat. Facebook just rebooted its own cycle recently, and while we've covered some of the more interesting (and egregious) of the changes, it turns out that Chrome and Firefox users can roll back certain of the new features that can make their FB experience more comfortable. 

  • Restore Facebook posts to chronological order. Well, you can't roll back every last change, but the Facebook Classic extension for Chrome is perfect for those of us who don't want to miss a post. It auto-sorts posts chronologically, a feature that many users miss quite a bit. It also kills the ticker, which is a great twofer. 
    Facebook Classic - "Recent Stories"
    Facebook Classic - "Recent Stories"
  • Kill the ticker in Firefox. I couldn't find a Firefox add-on that restored chronological ordering, but the Hide FB Ticker add-on promises to zap the ticker, which is a fine start to restoring sanity. 
  • Bring back old-school chat. Even more users hate the new chat sidebar, and there are many ways to bring back the old interface. Sidebar Disabler works with Chrome, Firefox and Opera, and does just what it says: disables the chat sidebar and returns (more or less) the chat interface you used to love. (Note it also adds banner ads, though you ought to be able to manage these if you don't already.) 
  • Clean up notificationsFB Purity is a neat add-on that lets you customize the messages and notifications you get, like app spam, notices that a friend attended an event, notices that a friend joined a group, and so on. These can get out of hand and can be a pain to scroll through or manage one by one, so this is a great way to focus on what's important. It works with Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. 
    FB Purity: Blocking 1 note.
    FB Purity: Blocking 1 note.
  • Make e-mail simple. Josh Lowensohn covered this neat, simple, Firefox-only extension a while back: Facebook E-mail Links makes it stupidly easy to e-mail contacts whenever you see their e-mail address in Facebook. 
  • Hover to zoomFB Photo Zoom is a Chrome-only extension that makes it easier to check out Facebook galleries. Just mouse over any zoomable pic and it automatically pops up. It's pretty easy to disable for those times when it gets in the way, but for hardcore picture browsers, it's a godsend. 
  • Click to shareShareaholic is a great add-on for most browsers that lets you share to Facebook (and many other social media services) with one click. It won't affect your FB interface, but it does make sharing almost too easy. Some users may want to request a Facebook throttling extension after installing Shareaholic!