[Updated] Removing App Spam From Facebook iPhone App

Facebook allows you to filter away apps you do not care about on your news feed but its iPhone app ignores the filter and you end up with something like this when you try to check on your friends on-the-go:

You end up scrolling through 2 pages of app spam to get some actual useful updates. To fix this, you need to block the apps.

Blocking the App

Method #1: Via App Page
Every app on Facebook has a page which url is usually like this: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=XXXXXXXXXX or http://www.facebook.com/XXXXXXXXXX

At the bottom of the left sidebar, you’d find the link to block the app:

Method #2: Via F.B.Purity
F.B. Purity is a browser extension which allows you an additional layer of filter for your Facebook news feed. Besides automatically filtering apps notifications, it presents you the ability to filter notifications such as profile picture changes, new friendship, etc. It is available on most browsers.

F.B. Purity allow you to block apps with a vengeance when filtering them isn’t enough for you, especially when the offending app is spaming you. When show your list of filtered apps, 2 additional buttons are available under the usual X for filtering. Click on BA for Block App. It allows you to block all the apps currently on the filtered list.

Unblocking the App

So you’ve managed to block the app but for some reason you want to unblock it. Maybe you started playing the game yourself and the notification is usually useful.

Method #1: Via Block Lists:
The easiest method is to access your Block Lists by first finding Privacy Settings from your Account dropdown list at the top right of any Facebook page, followed by Block Lists at the bottom of the Privacy Settings page.

Method #2: Via App itself
After you block the app, you can no longer access the app page where you blocked the app, it redirects you back to home. Another method to unblock the app is to try to access the app itself. The url is usually in the format: http://apps.facebook.com/xxxxxx/. It will inform you that you’ve blocked the app and presents the option to unblock it.

Caveat

Facebook’s app blocking seems to fail after the first page load on its iPhone App, i.e. if you click on More Posts… at the end of the first page of 20 updates, the blocked apps appear again. I don’t think this is by design and it’s probably a bug.

In other words, you get to see at least 20 spam-free updates on your iPhone app before running into any of the apps you blocked. This should be a  considerable improvement over having to view 2 pages of app spam before reaching anything meaningful.

Final Notes

I’m running 3.2.3 of the Facebook iPhone app. If newer versions of the app actually displayed a filtered newsfeed then good for you. The reason why I’ve not upgraded to the latest version was that newer versions were buggy with its photo uploading. In fact, I upgraded and had to find a way to rollback so the app actually functions.

[Update: The latest version of the iPhone App, 3.4.2 seems to have sorted out the newsfeed, at least it corresponds to what I see on the actual page feed. However, it is cluttered up with misc. notifications like new friends, etc. Interestingly, the direction of its development no longer seems to be that of a mobile companion app but that of a full Facebook with its exposure of account and privacy settings but you can’t adjust the filter of your feeds. Reload on release of the drop down list is also bad usability design. Ah well, let’s see how long I can survive before I rollback once again.]

I’m not sure if this would help users of Android, if any of my droid-wielding friends can confirm this, I’d update this post.

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