Let's talk about Like Spam for a minute. Facebook recently introduced a sneaky way to include ads in your news feed. These ads are integrated as "passive stories", much like when you see someone like a page or a photo. These are non-trivial for something like AdBlock to process, since it uses an identical DOM structure to non-spam passive stories. They take up a lot of space, and the ads are not necessarily refereed for obnoxiousness. In fact, many of them look like email forwards you might get from a random distant relative.

Facebook as an organization has made it as hard as possible to avoid seeing these obtrusive kinds of ads. Privacy controls don't seem to prevent these stories from being published to your friends. You can't remove things that you like anymore. You can't block pages that you think are annoying from appearing in these passive stories. And while you can tweak most content that you see from your friends, you have no control over the content that is being published in your own feed.

This is where LikeBuster comes in. LikeBuster is a Chrome extension specifically designed to keep these items from showing in your feed. LikeBuster uses DOM querying and regular expression matching to determine what we deem to be "Like Spam". I've made the code available for anyone to download or fork (View LikeBuster on GitHub).

LikeBuster is in early stages of development right now. My goal is to make it more interactive and robust as I find free time. However, I wanted to make it available to everyone early on, while it's doing it's specified task. Here's some information on how to install an experimental Chrome extension on OS X. Once you have loaded the extension, feel free to take a look at your JavaScript console. LikeBuster will log any story that it removes there, so you know if you're missing something.

Since I wrote LikeBuster, I haven't seen any "Like Spam" in my news feed. I recognize that this is how Facebook is hoping to extract value out of its ad platform, but until users can control who they're seeing ads from and provide feedback on what makes a passive story ad undesirable, the community needs to tailor their own user experience. AdBlock may not be able to do the job, but LikeBuster can.