Valentine's Day sucks! Valentine's Day is just a commercial exercise to make people buy more! Valentine's Day makes me feel bad.
Whichever of those criticisms matches your feelings about Valentine's Day, never fear. You can continue to use social media without seeing updates from lovesick friends and brands.
The solution isn't as simple as getting off Facebook for the entirety of February 14. Posts from friends and pages can still appear several days later in your news feed, particularly if the Facebook algorithm judges them to be important.
Of course you can simply ignore the updates and scroll past them in your feed, but there is a way to remove them entirely.
Block, hide, or mute
The first step to tackling the day is to take a proactive approach. If you're still Facebook friends with your exes, hide their updates before February 14 so no surprises come your way.
Kill Switch is an app that removes pictures, status updates and anything else that you have tagged with your ex. It doesn't unfriend or block the person in question, but gets rid of content you created. The app is free and available for iOS and Android.
While Kill Switch is great for removing all traces of old relationships, you will still need to take the manual approach to mute future updates from an ex.
Go to their profile page and click the Following button. It should change to an icon that says Follow. Status updates and posts from this person will no longer appear in your news feed, and they don't get notified that you no longer follow them.
The same approach can be taken with anyone on your friends list who is particularly soppy. Simply mute them for a few days to avoid any gushy updates on their love lives.
Filter out lovey-dovey keywords
Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't have an easy way to block certain hashtags or phrases from appearing in your news feed.
To customize the Facebook feed you will need to install a third-party browser extension. One important caveat: these extensions only work when you are using Facebook on a desktop browser. The mobile app won't be similarly filtered.
Here are the best options available:
Social Fixer for Facebook (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera)
Social Fixer gives you a wide range of control over the appearance of your news feed. A full run-down of options can be found in our earlier How To article, but for the purposes of Valentine's Day, here's how to filter the offending content.
Once installed, Facebook will have a wrench icon in the top toolbar. Click it and select Edit Social Fixer Options. Find Filtering in the list and click this option.
Enter the offending terms in the box underneath the Other column. This extension uses regular expressions to filter out content, so you will need to enter terms in this format.
For example, I want to filter out anything to do with Valentine's Day, from names, abbreviations and even the date, so my matching text option looks like this:
/valentines|valentine|valentine's day|vday|february 14|feb 14|14 feb/i
The pipe (| symbol) means "or", while the forward slashes denote the beginning and end of the expression. Remember to put the lowercase letter i at the very end of your expression, which tells Social Fixer to filter out upper and lowercase instances of all these words.
Under the Action column, choose to hide or to move the offending content to its own dedicated tab. Press Save, then refresh the page to start the filter.
Facebook Post Filter (Chrome)
Social Fixer is the easiest option for news feed filtering, but it doesn't always catch hashtag searches. Facebook Post Filter is an extension that also uses regular expressions to mute words of your choosing.
- Once installed, open up the settings tab by typing chrome://settings/ into the address bar.
- Click Extensions
- Underneath Facebook Post Filter, click Options. This will open a new tab where you will see an explanation of how to filter based on keywords.
The syntax is slightly different to Social Fixer. My regular expression for Facebook Post Filter looks something like this:
To test that it's working, before the fourteenth rolls around, start searching for hashtags such as #valentines, #valentinesday or #vday. You should see the results below as the filter kicks in when you scroll down the page.
Note that these extensions may slow down your Facebook experience because content is being filtered. The extensions also generally wait for all content to load before filtering, so you may still see some of the offending content before it gets filtered out. To ensure that content is successfully blocked, load your news feed and refresh the page immediately.