Facebook needs a “mute” button, rants Leslie Horn of Gizmodo.


Why Facebook should create a mute button like Twitter

Noting that she is tired of seeing endless buckets of ice being mindlessly dumped on people to promote their own vanity, Horn notes that users of the service will be stuck with such content “until the end of time.” Or, that is, until Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) creates a mute button similar to Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) .

With Twitter, a user can unfollow someone but not officially unfollow them.  The user can “turn off” the tweets from a user while still officially following that person.  This is the passive-aggressive method of managing a situation, one assumes.

However, Horn takes the issue a step further and challenges Facebook to let you unsubscribe from entire content categories.  Want to censor ice bucket challenges or posts about a user’s breakfast, there should be a button for that, she says.

Facebook lets you unsubscribe from a specific person or page, but not a topic,” she says. “And good god, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to kick out a window if you have to see another ice bucket challenge video autoplay in your feed.”

Annoying social trends and Miley Cyrus appearing on Facebook news feed

This month it’s the ice bucket, but that fading fad will go away and be replaced by another annoying social trend – perhaps Miley Cyrus twerking. Or perhaps you have Facebook friends that endlessly promote a political candidate or point of view.  We should be able to hit the mute button, Horn says.  “A mute option would help you maintain the dignity of staying out of it—what ever the ‘it’ du jour is,” she writes.

For now, Facebook lets you un-friend people – which has actually led to people I know getting upset at one another over the issue.  What Horn wants is more specific, more content driven than just a method that has the potential to upset your real friendships. “It needs to be more specific than that for the sake of our internet-based relationships—and our sanity,” she concludes.

One of the key elements missing from Horn’s analysis is the very fact that Facebook appears not to want users to have control over their communication. They are documented to strip a news feed of real news in favor of ice bucket challenges while they use microphones to peer into your conversations. Adopting the programs Horn advocates would require changing the attitude the company has regarding its users.