So it has come to this. You’re sick of seeing someone’s status posts, rants (political, personal, work-related, or otherwise), messages, photos, game invites, and general gibberish on social media. Doesn’t matter if it’s an ex, a friend, a family member, co-worker, whatever. It’s worse if it’s a complete stranger harassing you or tagging you to death on his/her own posts.
Don’t respond in rage, and don’t go for online shaming. (But yes, screencap away, just in case.) Take a deep breath, step away from your computer or phone, and get it together.
Feeling better? Cool.
Social media has given us our own little unpoppable bubbles, isolating us from each other and giving us fake news and personalities. But there are limits to communicating with and understanding other people. You’re as free to tune people and things out, just as they’re free to say and post whatever they want on their own accounts. Last time we checked, we’re still a free country.
So don’t apply to be the Philippines’ Next Social Media Martyr, or put up with other people’s crap. Right now, the most important thing is to get rid of the loud, notifications-heavy noise in your digital life, and weed out all stressors on the three major social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Who knows, it could save your real-life relationships and friendships!
Before we begin...
A short definition of terms is in order.
Hide – A Facebook feature that hides a Friend’s single post from your feed, or certain ads. You’ll still be Friends with said Facebook Friend and see his/her other posts, and you’ll still be served other ads. (Shit.)
Mute – A Twitter feature that does what Facebook’s Hide feature does. And you’re still getting other ads, sucker.
Unfollow – A feature present on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. On Facebook, you won’t see any more posts from your Friend if you Unfollow them, but again, you’ll still be Friends. On Twitter and Instagram, you won’t see their posts anymore, unless you Follow them again. And even then, they’ll still be able to see your posts until you Block them.
Block – The online equivalent of “friendship over”, “get lost”, or “fuck you, shut up”. Present on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Blocked users won’t be able to contact or message you unless you Unblock them. Consider this your last resort.
Let’s go with those pesky New Feed ads first. You see those three horizontal dots at the upper-right side of the ad? Click on that, then select Hide Ad.
You can do the same thing with individual posts from Facebook users and Pages you follow. Click on them three dots on the upper-right side, and select Hide Post. Ta-da!
If you want to completely miss out on your Facebook Friends’ future posts, click on Unfollow (name of Facebook user) instead. That way, you’re still on each other’s Friends lists, but you won’t see every spoiler, rant, or overshare that he/she posts. You can also unfollow Pages with this procedure.
If your Friends are posting through a Facebook App you don’t use or like, you can hide that app as well by clicking on Hide All from (name of app).
Facebook’s efforts to make everything accessible and clear to all users doesn’t always succeed, for some options are different on the desktop as on the app. To tidy up your News Feed via desktop, look for the News Feed tab on the left side of your screen (right underneath your username), and click on those three horizontal dots. A pop-up menu for News Feed Preferences will appear ? this allows you to set which Friends’ updates you want to see first, which Friends to unfollow and re-follow, find pages you like, and hide apps.
You can do the same on the app, although it’s not as straightforward. Tap on the three horizontal lines at the top right of your screen, then scroll down until you find the News Feed Preferences tab. Tap on that, and do the same as above.
Another tactic to unfollow/block is to go directly to a Facebook Friend’s or Page’s profile. For Facebook Friends... let’s use one person’s profile as a test case. Itago natin siya sa pangalang John Paulo Aguilera.
On the FB app, go to your Friend’s profile, and tap on the blue icon that says Following, with a check mark on top. Tap on Unfollow on the left side.
It’s a bit different if you do it on your computer. Click on the Following option instead, with a check mark on the left, and no blue folder icon. Then select Unfollow (name of Facebook user).
It can get tedious to Hide, Unfollow, and Block every single user, post, page, and ad from their individual profiles. So if you want to do it in bulk, and if you want it with “finality," Facebook offers another method.
On your desktop, click on that little dark-blue inverted triangle on the upper right. Click on the Settings tab, then click on the Blocking tab on the left menu. Here, you can block specific users, messages/app invites/event invites from specific users, apps that annoy you and add to the clutter (screw you, EverWing), and Pages. Type in said user/app/Page, and Block away.
On the FB app, tap on the three horizontal lines again on the right side, then scroll down and tap on Privacy Shortcuts. Tap on the question How do I stop someone from bothering me?, and type in the Facebook name(s) of your offensive ex- or non-Friend(s).
Hear that? That’s the sound of peace. Hell yeah.
Most Instagram users access their accounts through the smartphone app. And unlike other social media networks, Instagram’s desktop version actually gives you fewer account control options. So we’ll focus on the app instead.
To Block individual users, go to their Instagram profiles and click on the three vertical dots on the upper-right side. Block will be shown as the second option, so tap that, baby. If you opt to Report instead (say, someone’s harassing you and/or your girl on IG, or leaving spammy and insulting comments, or just being a complete douche), tap Report instead of Block.
To see your list of Blocked users, tap on the circular icon on the lower-right side, the one with your profile photo on it. You’ll then be taken to your Instagram profile. Tap on the three vertical dots on the upper right for your Settings page. Scroll down to Blocked Users (under the Account section), then tap on that option.
Unfollowing is a less final and drastic option. Again, tap on the Instagram user’s account name on your feed to go to their profile. Beside Message, you’ll see an icon of a person with a check mark on the left. Tap on that, then select Unfollow.
You should also check out the Comments options. Again, from your IG profile, tap the three vertical dots to get to the Options menu. Scroll down until the Settings section, and tap the Comments tab. From here, you can block comments from specific IG users, hide offensive comments, and set up your own keywords for automatic blocking.
As with Instagram, we’ll focus on Twitter’s mobile app, and we’ll use FHM Philippines’ official Twitter account for demonstration purposes this time.
The easiest way to go about it is to go to a specific Twitter profile, then tap on the three white vertical dots on the upper-right portion of your screen. Mute and Block will be the sixth and seventh options you’ll see on the menu if you’re already following that Twitter user, and fifth and sixth if not. Tap whatever’s appropriate in your case.
If you’re already following the errant Twitter user, you can simply tap on that little drop-down icon (that looks like a "v") at the top right of every tweet on your feed. From there, you have three available options for him/her: Unfollow, Mute, or Block. You can also review your Following and Followers lists, and clean up from there.
It’s the same process for ads you don’t like. Tap the drop-down icon on the right side of the tweet, then click on I don’t like this ad, or Mute @[username] or Block @[username].
To edit your Blocked and Muted users, swipe left to call Twitter’s menu function. Scroll down to Settings and Privacy, then select the Privacy and Safety tab. Under there, you’ll find separate options for Blocked Accounts or Muted Accounts.
You can also Mute specific words on Twitter. Again, swipe left for the menu, head to Settings and Privacy, select Privacy and Safety, then tap on the Muted Words tab.