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Computers

Avoid entering the Facebook vortex with Detox for Facebook

This browser extension replaces your Facebook feed with a news feed.

If you mindlessly check Facebook throughout the day and end up wasting more time than you'd like to admit reading the trivial comings and goings of your friends and family, then you may want to check out Detox for Facebook. This browser extension for Chrome, Firefox or Safari replaces your Facebook news feed with an actual news feed. It's not perfect and heavily weighted toward technology and design interests, but it might help you work more and Facebook less. Or at least be semi-productive when you do check Facebook.

After installing Detox for Facebook, open or refresh your Facebook feed and you'll see a new Detox line at the top of your news feed. There is a toggle switch that lets you turn the extension on and off, and if you click the Settings button you can set days and times for the extension to auto-activate. Of course, you can always turn the extension off and get to your trusted Facebook feed, but the extension forces you to take an extra step to do so.

Also in settings, you can customize the news sources for your Detox feed. Detox uses Panda for its sources, which means the content is geared toward designers and developers. You can also check a box to Randomize Feeds, which loads a different news source each time your arrive at or refresh Facebook. Without it, the default is Dribbble and you can then select from among your other Detox feeds from the left-hand panel. Similarly, there is a Randomize Posts check box, which mixes up the order of the posts for a feed, but I prefer them in chronological order.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Unfortunately, Detox for Facebook displays only one source at a time, though the developer says on ProductHunt that a mixed feed is under consideration. Also, not all but many Detox feeds lack images, which lessens their visual appeal. Lastly, Facebook's "New Stories" button appears when you are in Detox mode, but it's telling you there are new stories on your Facebook feed and not your Detox feed, which only tempts you to then click over to Facebook proper.

Even with its current limitations, Detox for Facebook is a great way to scratch that Facebook itch while you are at work and still be somewhat productive. And it's a lot easier than unfriending all of your Facebook friends or hiding their posts and replacing them by liking various news feeds on Facebook.