FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Security and Privacy

Problems and Error Messages

Features, Functionality, and Information

Is This Thing Legit?

Yes.

Social Fixer is a personal project of the author, Matt Kruse. I am the sole programmer, designer, tester, documentation-writer, and marketer. You can view my personal site or even search Google for my name to see that I have been doing this stuff for a long time, and my reputation is solid. I build it because I love to create things, and this is my creative outlet. I've been working on it in my free time since 2009 and there are hundreds of thousands of people who use it every day.

Social Fixer has been written about on Lifehacker, ComputerWorld, InsideFacebook.com and many other places (sometimes under it's previous name, Better Facebook)

And rest assured - Social Fixer will not compromise your privacy or security, and it won't insert ads, spam, porn, or malware. There are no viruses or spyware. The code is safe.

Does Social Fixer compromise my privacy or security?

No and No. And it never will!

Social Fixer is a javascript program that runs in your browser when you are logged into Facebook. It does run as you, and the program has access to your information that is displayed on the page - it needs to in order to process it all! This is standard for any browser script or extension.

Requests are made back to the Facebook servers to retrieve your personal data like your friends list, groups, etc. This data is stored in your browser and nowhere else! (See Where are my preferences stored?). None of your data is ever transmitted to any other site, nor stored anywhere but in your browser. The only requests made to non-Facebook servers are the requests made to socialfixer.com to check for new versions and to check for any important messages that need to be displayed. No uniquely identifying information is ever sent - only your current version number in order to check for updates. The check for updates can be turned off in Options (but is of course not recommended).

None of your Facebook settings or data is ever changed by Social Fixer. It does not update your personal information, or your status, or your friends lists, or any other information about you or in your account. It only processes information - it never changes it.

If you have any other questions about privacy or security, please post to the Social Fixer Page and I will respond and update this FAQ.

Does Social Fixer insert ads, spam, porn, or malware?

Absolutely not. And it never will!

Some other Facebook scripts do insert these things, and their actions are sometimes incorrectly attributed to Social Fixer. Some add-ons that are known to cause problems are:

  • SocialPlus!
  • "I Don't Care" button
  • Facebook Cleaner
  • Faceplus

Something isn't working! What's wrong? How do I debug the problem?

First, understand that Facebook often has glitches and problems on its own. Many problems that users think are caused by SFX are actually just Facebook screwing up. To check, you can always disable SFX and see if the problem persists. You can also view Facebook's Known Problems page on Facebook to see if they are reporting any problems at the moment.

Second, understand that Facebook changes their code and page structure seemingly at random. SFX inspects the underlying code that Facebook delivers and looks for known structures in order to extract the information it needs. If the structure changes, then SFX may no longer be able to find the information it needs, and features may stop working. In these cases, I work as fast as I can to release a new version that takes into account these changes. Sometimes, changes are visible to some users and not others. If I don't see the change myself, it is very difficult for me to identify the change that Facebook has made and update the code accordingly. It may take some additional time, and I may need to get assistance from other SFX users. Read more at How It Works (and why it sometimes doesn't).

Before concluding that a problem is caused by SFX, try temporarily disabling it. You can do that by choosing "Disable Social Fixer" from the wrench menu in the blue header bar. The page will refresh, and Social Fixer will not make any changes to the page. If the problem is still there, then you can be confident that it is not caused by Social Fixer. You can re-enable SFX by choosing the only option listed under the red wrench icon.

If you are pretty sure that the problem is caused by SFX, try to reproduce the problem to understand exactly what the cause is and under what circumstances it appears. Then post to the Social Fixer Page on Facebook. Include your browser and version, and describe in detail what you see happening and what you expect to happen instead.

Also, check the Known Issues list to see if someone else has reported the problem. People often report the same issues that are already known.

If individual posts are showing that shouldn't, or posts are not being processed how you expect them to be, then click the "i" icon in the icon tray for the individual post. This will reveal some debug information that will be helpful in identifying the problem. In particular click the red link to save the post's debug information on a server, and then paste the url it gives back to you in a post to the SFX Page.

Does Social Fixer work with Internet Explorer?

No. IE versions before 9.0 were terrible browsers with lots of problems. Although version 9.0 is much improved, the requirements to create an extension are complex and require Microsoft development tools. I haven't figured out how to create an extension yet, because I don't have the time to research it or buy the tools needed. Besides, there are other, better browsers available. Switch to Google Chrome at least!

Is Social Fixer available in other languages?

Not right now, no. I would like to offer Social Fixer in other languages, and I plan to at some point. But right now it is not feasible because:
  • Much of the code needs to be re-organized or re-written to allow for translation of strings
  • A new interface needs to be created to allow the user to select their language
  • I update Social Fixer frequently, and every time I do so the translations would need to updated also
I'm working on some ideas that would allow translations to be created at any time, and the user can enter any url that contains the translation they wish (and/or select a language from a dropdown). If a new string in Social Fixer isn't translated yet, the English version would be used.

Along with this would need to be an interface for translators to see the list of strings in Social Fixer and provide their translations. Needless to say, this is all a lot of work, which explains why it hasn't been done yet! :)

Why do tabs for games sometimes appear and sometimes not?

The default behavior of SFX is to add tabs for each application that appears in the feed. This means that if there is a post from Farmville, for example, that a Farmville tab will be created and the post will be moved there. If there are no Farmville posts, the Farmville tab will not be created. So, the tabs that you see depend on what posts are actually in your feed at the moment. You may see a tab for a specific app right now, but later it may not be there. This is the correct behavior.

You can disable this default action in Options->Feed Filter and uncheck "Automatically move known App (those in list below) posts to their own tab"

If an application you use is not listed in the list of apps, and not auto-tabbed, then see this FAQ entry

How does "Tag users when replying" work?

When you tag a user in a reply, that user will get a Notification that you have mentioned them in your comment. The strange syntax by their name, like @[123456:Bill Smith] is just Facebook's internal syntax for tagging someone. The number is their ID, followed by the text that should be linked.

Tagging only works for someone who is your friend, or for Page owners who are mentioning someone who has replied already in the comment thread. If these conditions are not met, the user's name will be shown without a link, and no Notification will be sent.

How do I add an app to the list of "known" apps?

When you hover over a post, an "icon tray" will appear in the upper right corner of the post. When you move your cursor over these icons, they become fully visible. (If this doesn't happen, make sure you have Options->Popular->"Show Post Action Icons on each post" checked).

Click the "+" icon to automatically add this application to your known list. It will then be automatically tabbed (if you have that option enabled) and will also show up in the list of applications when creating a Feed Filter. (It may appear at the bottom rather than alphabetically!)

A filter doesn't seem to be applied correctly. What is wrong?

First, go into Options->Filtering. Do you see filters listed at the bottom? Are the values in them correct? Look near the top of the same tab. Is "Enable Filters" checked?

If filters are enabled, then go to a specific post that you think should be filtered, but isn't. Hover over the post and click the "i" icon that appears in the upper right. This will make a box of debug information show up. You can easily send this debug info to the developer or others to help by clicking on the red link at the top, and then copy/pasting the link that is returned to you.

If you are not seeing tabs for application posts (like Farmville, etc), make sure this is enabled in the first tab ("Popular") of Options: "Automatically move posts from Apps into their own tabs"

Finally, you may misunderstand how filters work. Filters only work on the posts that are on the page. If you have defined a filter for a specific type of post to move to a tab, but no posts match that filter, then no posts will be in that tab. Depending on your options, the tab may not even be created if there are no posts to put into it.

The Update Available Notification won't go away!

First, try clearing your browser's cache, restarting your browser, and verifying in the Options dialog that the version you are running is the current version.

Usually this means that you have SFX installed twice. This can happen when you update an extension and it doesn't remove the previous one. This is a known problem in Chrome, Safari, and Opera, for some users. Also, this could be caused by having the extension installed from Chrome Gallery, Opera's extension gallery, or Mozilla's Add-On Directory, but then updating with the version hosted on socialfixer.com. Your browser sees these as two different extensions, and installs the new one fresh and keeps the old one!

Check your extensions list for multiple versions, and remove any extras, leaving only the current version.

Why won't some posts stay hidden?

This is (usually) not Social Fixer misbehaving, but rather Facebook being glitchy.

Each post on Facebook has a unique ID that is called a "FBID". The FBID is delivered by Facebook in the source of the page, and it's what SFX uses to identify individual posts. When you mark a post as read, the FBID is recorded. But Facebook has a problem - when you reload the page and look at the FBID again for the same post, you'll see that it has changed! So SFX thinks this is a whole new post and shows it again. Every time you reload the page, the FBID will change, so the post never goes away!

SFX actually has code in it to try to account for this weird Facebook glitch. For certain story types that are known to have randomly-changing FBID's, SFX constructs its own unique identifier using other data from the post. This approach isn't perfect, though, so it's not used by default. I have to add code to handle each case where this happens.

How to Debug! If you want to help figure out what is going on, take the following steps:

  1. Locate an example post that won't stay hidden.
  2. Click the "i" icon in the upper right that appears when you hover over the post
  3. Debug information should appear under the post. Click the red link to send the debug info, and copy the url.
  4. Reload the page
  5. Repeat the same steps to get the debug info url again
  6. Compare the fbid's in the debug info. Are they different? If so, then that's why it's not staying hidden
  7. Post to the Social Fixer Wall with the two debug snippets, which will help me figure out how to handle this case correctly.

If the FBID is not different, or if no posts at all will stay hidden after refresh, then you may have a problem with your preferences not being stored correctly. See this FAQ entry: Why won't Social Fixer keep my preferences?.

Can I setup filters using Friend Lists?

Currently no. I cannot find a way to get access to the user's friend lists or the people that are in them. This is a commonly-requested feature, though, so I am continuing to try to solve it.

SFX has completely stopped working in Safari!

Some Safari users on Mac have reported that Social Fixer either never begins working, or stops working suddenly, despite being listed in the Extensions list and enabled.

The root cause of this seems to be that the Safari Extension API is completely missing, which SFX relies on to work correctly (as do many extensions). This can be caused by some rogue extensions/apps that break Safari. Known trouble-makers are SIMBL and the Conduit community toolbars. The solution is to remove these disruptive components. This article may help: Removing the Conduit 'Community Toolbar' in OS X.

My browser warns me about unsecured content

Social Fixer is fully compatible with secure (https) mode of Facebook. If you are getting this message in your browser, you are probably using an outdated theme which was not created for https.

To fix this, try taking the following steps:

  1. Go into Options/Theme and select Default (no theme)
  2. Save settings and refresh the page
  3. Go back into Options/Theme and select your theme again
  4. Save settings and refresh the page
This will cause Social Fixer to use the new version of the theme, which is compatible with https.

How do I configure the options in the Add-On?

Do not use the add-on preferences button in Firefox. The options interface is triggered via the button in the Facebook.com header bar.

Why is the new version not found when I check for Add-On updates in Firefox?

The Social Fixer Add-on on addons.mozilla.org must go through an approval process after being submitted, before it is posted and made available to all add-on users. This can sometimes take over a week! Unfortunately, this is out of my control. I submit the updates to Mozilla on the same day that I release new versions on socialfixer.com.

Instead of installing from addons.mozilla.org, you can download the update directly from socialfixer.com. ( Direct Link To Most Recent Add-On ). It has the exact same functionality. When new updates are available, Social Fixer will alert you and you can download from the site again, rather than going through the browser's built-in add-on update process.

Why won't Social Fixer keep my preferences?

Some users may have the Wizard pop up every time they load Facebook, or posts that are marked as read/muted keep coming back, or Options that they set not "stick". This indicates that SFX is not able to store its preferences, so every time it starts up it thinks it's the first time!

I am working on understanding all the factors that could lead to this problem. Because there are so many different browsers, configurations, options, and other extensions that people may use, it's impossible to solve it for everyone. But if none of the items below addresses the problem for you, please post to the Social Fixer Page and give any more information you might have!

Potential Causes of this problem:

  • If you clear cookies and site data in Chrome or Safari, this may clear all the preferences stored by Social Fixer. Unfortunately, there is no way in Chrome/Safari to clear cookies without clearing Social Fixer data, so it's recommended that you not do so.
  • Using Private Browsing Mode (or your browser's equivalent). These modes are not supported by Social Fixer, because usually the browser prevents extensions from storing data in this mode.
  • Look at the URL when it seems like Social Fixer is not working. Does it say apps.facebook.com? If so, then Facebook navigation has bitten you - if you navigate back to www.facebook.com things should work. Unfortunately Chrome/Safari store preferences PER HOST, so all your prefs are lost when you navigate to apps.facebook.com.
  • Your localStorage could full or not allowing SFX to write to it for some other reason. One possible reason is if you are blocking cookies to Facebook.com, your browser may also be preventing it from using localStorage. Try to remove the blocking of cookies.
  • Your localStorage file may have become corrupt. This can be caused by the AdBlock extension in some cases, or Chrome/Safari itself may cause the file to become correupt. To resolve this:
    1. Shut down your browser
    2. Find your localStorage file. It may be in one of these locations:
      Chrome:
      C:\Users\_USERNAME_\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_jpokckkkemafoamcfkmglelammlpgcog_0.localstorage
      C:\Users\_USERNAME_\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_ifmhoabcaeehkljcfclfiieohkohdgbb_0.localstorage

      C:\Documents and Settings\_USERNAME_\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_jpokckkkemafoamcfkmglelammlpgcog_0.localstorage
      C:\Documents and Settings\_USERNAME_\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_ifmhoabcaeehkljcfclfiieohkohdgbb_0.localstorage

      ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Local Storage/chrome-extension_jpokckkkemafoamcfkmglelammlpgcog_0.localstorage
      ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Local Storage/chrome-extension_ifmhoabcaeehkljcfclfiieohkohdgbb_0.localstorage

      Mac/Safari:
      Macintosh HD > Users > [Username] > Library > Safari > LocalStorage > www.facebook.com_0.localstorage
    3. Delete the file
    4. Restart your browser
  • You may have an over-enthusiastic temp file cleaner that thinks these ".localstorage" files are junk and removes them. Apps like CCleaner could be to blame. If you are running anything like this, be sure to set it up appropriately so it doesn't remove these files.
  • Finally, be sure that you are using the Chrome/Safari Extension, not the Greasemonkey script.

When Social Fixer is enabled, my browser goes really slow or locks up

Social Fixer runs code any time the document is updated, and checks for posts to process. It then has to go through a complicated series of steps to process the post, check it against filters, etc. For most people, this process slows down their browser just a small amount that is barely noticeable. But for a few, it causes the browser to become really slow or lock up.

These are some possible causes:

  1. If you have other add-ons, extensions, or toolbars installed that also manipulate or check Facebook pages, they might be causing a conflict. Try disabling all other add-ons and extensions and see if speed increases.
  2. For some people, having the auto-expand of similar posts enabled causes slowdown. Disable it in Options.
  3. Auto-clicking of Older Posts may cause a noticeable delay. Either set it to 0 or wait for the short time after you load Facebook while it clicks and processes older posts.
  4. Disable the option to "Put posts in proper chronological order after expanding" (it is off by default)
  5. The AVG LinkScanner has been reported to cause huge slowdown.
  6. If you have a slow or old computer, or an old version of your browser, consider upgrading. Also, make sure you are using the latest version of Social Fixer

The panels on the left don't show data - like "My Pages (0)"

This happens when "Accept third-party cookies" is disabled in your browser's options. Enable this option to enable full functionality.
In Firefox:

In Safari 5.1:

Can Social Fixer revert the Timeline profiles to the old format?

Social Fixer can customize the way you view Timeline pages, whether it's your profile or others. Currently, Social Fixer can customize Timelines in the following ways:

  • View posts in a single column
  • Hide cover photos
  • Hide the Friends box that is always visible
  • Hide the check-in maps
In future releases, I hope to be able to:
  • Put the friends list in alphabetical order
  • Resize photos so they are not cropped
  • More things, as I find what annoys users and find fixes for them!

One important point that needs to be understood is that Social Fixer cannot change how your Timeline appears to other users! Since Social Fixer is a browser plug-in, only people using it will see the modified Timeline view. There is absolutely no way to change how others see your Timeline except by using the controls that Facebook gives you. Any application, program, or web site claiming to do so is a fraud.

Why can't SFX remove Timeline completely like "FB Purity" or "Timeline Remove"?

These apps use a hack - they make your browser pretend to be IE7, which Facebook doesn't support with Timeline. When Facebook sees IE7 requesting a Timeline page, it serves the old format instead. These seems like a nice little hack, and it does work - mostly. The reasons I don't do this are:

  • At some point, Facebook will update Timeline to work with IE7, and this method will completely stop working
  • When Facebook serves up content for IE7, it delivers a lot of custom CSS code specifically for that browser. Since you are NOT actually using IE7 (only pretending to), you will be delivered the wrong CSS code!
  • The other apps fix this by including a bunch of CSS to override Facebook's CSS, and fix the quirks. However, this causes other problems, and it's very fragile. If Facebook changes any small bit of CSS, major pieces of functionality could stop working.

For these reasons, I think this "IE7 Hack" approach is very fragile and requires constant updates and effort to make it work correctly - and I expect it to randomly stop working at some point. So for now, it seems to work, and if you want to use those apps in addition to SFX, that is fine. But beware of quirks and bugs. I do not plan to implement this IE7 hack at any time.

What is Pocket and the "Save For Later" feature?

Pocket (formerly "Read It Later") is a popular tool that enables you to save a "reading list" of URL's to read later. There are apps for mobile devices and browser plugins available.

The idea behind the Save For Later icon is that you can easily add stories to your Pocket reading list. This way, you can continue scanning your Facebook news feed while accumulating stories you want to read later. Then you can read them from within your browser, or check them later from your mobile device which syncs with your Pocket reading list.

If the window pops up with a large login screen that doesn't fit within the popup, this means that you are not signed into Pocket in your browser. Sign in, either in the small popup window or in a separate browser tab, and then it should show the 'add story' dialog correctly.

Q: Can I add stories to other services instead of Pocket? A: No, not yet. In the future, yes.

Q: Can you auto-close the Pocket popup window when I save an item? A: No, unfortunately I cannot, due to technical reasons. The close button needs to be used.

Why does Social Fixer auto-subscribe me to the "Social Fixer News" list?

First of all, if you don't like it, you can disable it in Options->Advanced. You can easily remove the list with a couple clicks.

But... why does it auto-subscribe? I'll tell you why.

I am a one-man operation, and supporting over 300,000 users takes a lot of effort. It's exhausting. And what makes it worse is that I get the same questions over and over - often about things that I've already posted about, or fixed in the most recent version!

So, I try to get the word out about things using the Social Fixer Page, which most users "Like". Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't show most users the posts. It artificially limits visibility of posts, so typically less than 20% of my users ever see the important messages I post. This is a problem!

So as a way around this, and to get important news out to users, I auto-subscribe users to my Social Fixer News list, which only contains the Page. When I post there, users will see a counter, indicating there are new posts to read. The goal is not to spam users (I never will) or to try to be tricky. My goal is simply to try to offer better support, keep users informed, and to ease the huge strain that support puts on me.

Originally Social Fixer was supposed to prompt the user for permission before auto-subscribing. But, there turned out to be some problems with that. I am working on fixing it so it will be easier to opt out if you wish.

Why are there no filter options?

This can be caused by a couple known things:

  • 3rd party cookies be disabled. See this FAQ entry.
  • Some over-zealous security programs like AdBlock, firewalls, CCleaner, etc may block Social Fixer's request back to Facebook to get the data it needs to populate filter boxes. Try disabling these programs and see if filters display correctly.

Why does the Chrome extension permissions include "Your tabs and browsing activity"?

This is indeed confusing, because Social Fixer does not ever access your other tabs or browsing activity.

The problem is that Social Fixer needs some special permissions in order to make ajax calls back to SocialFixer.com to check for updates, messages, etc. Unfortunately, the permission to do this is lumped with others under the grouping "Tabs and browsing history".

So, it's very misleading, and many extension developers have complained about it because it confuses users. They have plans to change it.

Rest assured, Social Fixer will never access any of your private information, browsing history, cookies, stored data, or anything else personal. The goal of Social Fixer is to fix annoyances, not create them!

Firefox displays this error: Error in getValue...

Some users of the Firefox extension may encounter this error:
Error in getValue: [Exception... "Component returned failure code: 0x8000ffff (NS_ERROR_UNEXPECTED) [nsIPrefBranch.getComplexValue]" nsresult: "0x8000ffff (NS_ERROR_UNEXPECTED)" location: "JS frame :: chrome://socialfixer/content/prefman.js :: <TOP_LEVEL> :: line 18" data: no]

This error only exists in the version currently available on the Mozilla Add-On Directory. This version is out-dated, and Mozilla is refusing to update it because of a few problems they want fixed in my source. I'm working on that.

The fix is to install the current version from SocialFixer.com, which will solve the problem.

This not a feature that is officially offered.

How do I uninstall?

Uninstalling an extension is a function of your browser. The Social Fixer extension cannot uninstall itself - it's not even possible! You have to tell your browser to remove it. Luckily, this is simple. Find your browser in the list below and follow the instructions. If something doesn't work, try consulting the Help for your browser or checking Google. I cannot uninstall for you. Again, this is a built-in function of your browser, not a feature I can offer.


Chrome:

Type chrome://extensions/ in your browser, then click the uninstall link by Social Fixer:


Greasemonkey in Firefox:

Right-click the monkey icon in the bottom toolbar, then Manage User Scripts. Click on Social Fixer in the list, then Uninstall


Firefox Add-On:

Go to Tools->Add-Ons. Find Social Fixer and click Uninstall


Safari - Windows

Go to Preferences and then Extensions.


Safari - Mac

Go to Preferences and then Extensions.


What is Greasemonkey?

Greasemonkey is a Firefox add-on that allows users to create javascript files that can manipulate web pages when they are viewed. This allows users full control over changing how sites look and behave

Where are my preferences stored?

Firefox Add-On: Go to "about:config" in your browser's location bar, then type "socialfixer" in the filter. Your preferences are in the displayed keys.

Firefox/Greasemonkey: Go to "about:config" in your browser's location bar, then type "Social Fixer" in the filter. Your preferences are in the displayed keys.

Chrome: Prefs are stored in an extension-specific localstorage file which may be in one of these locations:

C:\Users\_USERNAME_\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_jpokckkkemafoamcfkmglelammlpgcog_0.localstorage
C:\Users\_USERNAME_\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_ifmhoabcaeehkljcfclfiieohkohdgbb_0.localstorage

C:\Documents and Settings\_USERNAME_\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_jpokckkkemafoamcfkmglelammlpgcog_0.localstorage
C:\Documents and Settings\_USERNAME_\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage\chrome-extension_ifmhoabcaeehkljcfclfiieohkohdgbb_0.localstorage

~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Local Storage/chrome-extension_jpokckkkemafoamcfkmglelammlpgcog_0.localstorage
~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Local Storage/chrome-extension_ifmhoabcaeehkljcfclfiieohkohdgbb_0.localstorage

Safari/Mac:

Macintosh HD > Users > [Username] > Library > Safari > LocalStorage > www.facebook.com_0.localstorage

How can I transfer my preferences from one browser to another?

Go into the "User Prefs" tab of Options. There can you "Export" your preferences and a big string of text will appear in the empty text box. Copy this text and paste it into an editor like Notepad, then save it.

Open the other browser and go into the User Prefs tab. Paste the contents of the file into the empty text box and click Import.

Refresh your browser and your new prefs should be loaded!

I have more questions!

Post to the Facebook Page