What does it do?
Removes the Like button on Facebook.
How does it do it?
Through a little bit of CSS.
Why does it do this?
To subtract one type of interaction that takes place on Facebook.1
Why would you want to subtract this form of interaction on Facebook?
Facebook made a profit of nearly $1 billion in 2011. Around 85% of this revenue was derived from targeted advertisements displayed throughout the site. These ads are directed specifically to individual users based on algorithms that track a user’s activity—commenting, sharing content and, most importantly, clicking the Like button—to determine what products and services she is not remove the Like button from Facebook “pages”, since it is the only way to subscribe to that content most likely to be attracted to.2 The Like button’s success demonstrates one way in which communication has been instrumentalized in the service of economic interaction within our current form of capitalism. Today’s workers are generally required to express a positive attitude and display proficiency in communicating within a linguistic framework that is oriented around efficiency and therefore limited in scope. Success can be measured by the worker’s effectiveness in using language to create a space of coproduction and common understanding across a wide field of economic and social actors, in the service of capital. To master these skills is to be a productive affective worker. The Like button is a perfectly optimized system for extracting value from an individual’s labor and, concurrently, training her to better fit into the larger workforce and society in general. Each time we “like” something our productivity increases, while our communicative skills are homogenized and impoverished. The Like button purports to mitigate the sense of precarity and disconnection endemic to the contemporary economy and workplace even while leveraging those conditions to produce greater profits.
Removing the Like button may not fundamentally change these dynamics. But purging the button from our interfaces can work to diminish the profits garnered by Facebook each time we click, eroding the power it has in our subjugation.3
To download this plugin, please visit: www.apubliclibrary.org/nnl
- 1. The plugin does not remove the Like button from Facebook ‘pages’, since it is the only way to subscribe to that content.
- 2. This does not just take place on Facebook. There are between 2-5-3 billion Like buttons on external sites. A future version of this plugin will add the option to remove these Like buttons as well.
- 3. Another option is to simply leave Facebook and online social networks altogether, or join an alternative platform. Regarding the latter, ‘liking’ or ‘favoriting’ are still primary means of interaction on other systems. The benefit of staying on Facebook is that it allows for an incomparable scale of communication and organisation, which can be marshaled to resist exploitation under current oppressive economic and political systems.