Using Science to Figure Out Facebook Tips and Tricks

Today a friend of mine on facebook posted this.

Hello friends, as you all know I like to keep my FB private except to those I am friends with. So if you all would do the following, I’d appreciate it. With the new FB timeline on its way this week for EVERYONE, please do both of us a favor. Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says : “Subscribed”. Hover over that, then go to “comments and likes” and unclick it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the bar side for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles. If you repost this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll “like” it.

Within minutes, someone else posted that it didn’t actually work… and everyone had a sad.

Then I thought, wait, let’s just try it.  So, I got with my friend and we started an experiment.  I unsubscribed to her ‘comments and likes’ and then told her to post something on another friend’s post.

Sure enough, I didn’t see anything.  Then she did the same for me and couldn’t see my comments.

There was much rejoicing.

Of course, that was a scientific investigation.  But one that a really good scientific investigation should generate is additional questions.  So, just to make sure that this wasn’t a fluke or something… I had both of us turn back on the subscribe to ‘comments and likes’.

A very odd thing happened.  We still couldn’t see each others comments in the news feed. I didn’t understand it, but the massive influx of information was still off, so no big deal right… still I was curious.  Why did that happen, it wasn’t very consistent with what should have happened.  Things that make you go hmm….

Then I had an idea.  I made a comment on a mutual friend’s post and sure enough, both of us could see it.  Again, we reversed roles and I could still only see comments from her on our mutual friend’s posts.

So, we have a quick, but complete scientific methodology here.

  1. Question: Does the ‘fix’ really work?
  2. Research: check and other sources (they say ‘no’).*
  3. Experiment: Does the fix actually stop comments and likes?
  4. Result: Yes, yes it does.  Hypothesis confirmed
  5. Additional avenue for research: What happens if we turn it back on?
  6. Experiment: Turn it back on and see what happens
  7. Result: Confusion, we still don’t see comments on other feeds
  8. Additional question: what about mutual friends?
  9. Experiment: Comment on mutual friends posts
  10. Result: we can see those!  Coolness

You see, the scientific method is a valuable tool, even in everyday life for checking things, making our lives a little bit easier and less cluttered.

Now, we know something that we didn’t know before.  Now, we can spread the word about the ‘fix’ because we have experimental evidence to show the effectiveness of unsubscribing, then resubscribing to friends ‘comments and likes’.  I guess if you are an annoying little internet troll stalker, you might like to keep up with what your facebook friends are doing without you, but I don’t care.

Science.  It works bitches!


* A creationist would stop there because an authoritative source said so.  They can’t seem to grasp the idea that even authoritative sources could be wrong, hence the massive amount of actual evidence produced by science confirming all aspects of it.

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