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Washington Post Social Reader - Time For A Boycott?


DonRocks
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The Washington Post Social Reader app is further compromising whatever little enjoyment remains to be found on Facebook. It is (or was) redirecting every single washingtonpost.com link in an attempt to force users to sign up for the application which is bad enough. However, there is a workaround for this problem (a workaround which should not have the burden placed on Facebook users).

There doesn't appear to be a workaround, however, for being bombarded by this app. Every time a Facebook friend uses it to read a washingtonpost.com story, it "tells you" that your friend has read a story ... well, guess what ... I DON'T CARE WHAT WASHINGTON POST STORIES MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS HAVE READ.

This would be fine if there was an obvious way to defeat it with one single keystroke, but this is not the case. Per the Washington Post Social Reader FAQ:

WHAT CONTROLS DO I HAVE ON WP SOCIAL READER?

It is important that you have the right to control your presence on the Web, and WP Social Reader is no exception. If you read a story you don't want shared with your Facebook network, no problem. All you have to do is click "Mark as Unread" at the bottom of the article.

So apparently, if your Facebook friends choose to read a washingtonpost.com story, and DON'T actively click on "Mark as unread" at the bottom of the article, then guess what? You're "informed" that they read the story - and, in my case, I'm "informed" nearly every time I go onto Facebook since I have so many Facebook friends. This needs to change immediately.

And if there's a way around this problem, other than un-friending people one at a time, I would appreciate it if someone could let me know. (And also, I'd appreciate it if The Washington Post could make it clear to people like me just how, exactly, to keep them from intruding in my life. If people want to use this intrusive app, then that's fine, and that's their business; I don't want it appearing in MY Facebook feed every single time I sign on.)

Cheers,

Rocks

PS Traditionally, I've visited washingtonpost.com several times a day, so it's hardly like I'm "anti- Washington Post," but I'm going to completely stop visiting that website if this problem doesn't go away immediately.

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On Facebook, you can block the app -- next time you see it, mouse over it, and there is a choice to "Hide All From Washington Post Social Reader."

One keystroke. Done.

(Also, you don't have to unfriend people to stop seeing these. The new settings allow you to choose what kind of updates you will follow, so if you choose only "status updates" (etc), you'll never see these WaPoReader ones. That, however, is on a friend-by-friend basis, not a one-size-fits-all block of an app that's annoying you.)

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On Facebook, you can block the app -- next time you see it, mouse over it, and there is a choice to "Hide All From Washington Post Social Reader."

One keystroke. Done.

(Also, you don't have to unfriend people to stop seeing these. The new settings allow you to choose what kind of updates you will follow, so if you choose only "status updates" (etc), you'll never see these WaPoReader ones. That, however, is on a friend-by-friend basis, not a one-size-fits-all block of an app that's annoying you.)

Leigh, I've blocked the app; I don't use it. It's the updates that are driving me up a wall. If this really needs to be done on a friend-by-friend basis, then I'm simply going to un-friend anyone who uses it, with a note asking them to please re-friend me once they stop.

(I've already begun the methodical one-by-one process of un-friending anyone who uses Facebook as nothing but self-promotion. It's a pretty formidable little list of people so far - it reads like a culinary all-star team - so if anyone's on it, please don't be offended.)

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Leigh, I've blocked the app; I don't use it. It's the updates that are driving me up a wall. If this really needs to be done on a friend-by-friend basis, then I'm simply going to un-friend anyone who uses it, with a note asking them to please re-friend me once they stop.

(I've already begun the methodical one-by-one process of un-friending anyone who uses Facebook as nothing but self-promotion. It's a pretty formidable little list of people so far - it reads like a culinary all-star team - so if anyone's on it, please don't be offended.)

Not blocking the app, blocking stories from the app. It's "Hide All From Washington Social Reader" -- has nothing to do with whether or not you use it.

The friend-by-friend thing is different.

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Not blocking the app, blocking stories from the app. It's "Hide All From Washington Social Reader" -- has nothing to do with whether or not you use it.

The friend-by-friend thing is different.

If this is the case, I'll delete this post (but I looked for something like this, and didn't find it).

(Thanks!)

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PM me and I will send you a screenshot of where it is

Did.

I ignored the app awhile back; nevertheless, it's been showing up as a "Top Story." I clicked on that little tab-thing at the top-left, and it asked me if I didn't want "stories" like this to be "Top Stories" any more, and I clicked, "yes that's right," or whatever it prompted me to click on. So hopefully this will alleviate the problem?

(I have no issue seeing this thing when I go onto washingtonpost.com; I just don't want it thrown in my face seemingly five times a day on Facebook.)

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Did.

I ignored the app awhile back; nevertheless, it's been showing up as a "Top Story." I clicked on that little tab-thing at the top-left, and it asked me if I didn't want "stories" like this to be "Top Stories" any more, and I clicked, "yes that's right," or whatever it prompted me to click on. So hopefully this will alleviate the problem?

(I have no issue seeing this thing when I go onto washingtonpost.com; I just don't want it thrown in my face seemingly five times a day on Facebook.)

That will only take it out of Top Stories, but it's a start. The screen shot should help.

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The same thing just started happening to me today with Yahoo - an "app" on Facebook that I have never authorized, but now the fact that other people have read stories on Yahoo shows up in my Facebook feed. And it does seem like Facebook must have changed its user options for the worse, lately - I assumed that I would be able to block this sort of "news item" permanently in the simple way that people have mentioned above, but that option doesn't appear anymore. Lesson to me: don't ever assume that Don is failing to see some simple mouseover option. Grrrr.

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The same thing just started happening to me today with Yahoo - an "app" on Facebook that I have never authorized, but now the fact that other people have read stories on Yahoo shows up in my Facebook feed. And it does seem like Facebook must have changed its user options for the worse, lately - I assumed that I would be able to block this sort of "news item" permanently in the simple way that people have mentioned above, but that option doesn't appear anymore. Lesson to me: don't ever assume that Don is failing to see some simple mouseover option. Grrrr.

I'm going to say something self-promoting here because it's something I take great pride in, and not one person has ever seemed to notice (or, at least, not one person has ever mentioned it to me).

One of my long-time personal friends - someone active here - neither "friended" me on Facebook, nor accepted my friendship request. This was a couple of years ago, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terribly hurt by it. When I finally pinned her down, she said, in so many words, "I don't want my online life to be, 'all Don, all the time.'" And as soon as she said this, I understood perfectly.

This is one reason I have never used my personal account in Facebook to throw this website in people's faces - I figure that if folks want to see what I have to say about restaurants, they'll tune into my channel (either here, or dcdining.com (website, Facebook, or Twitter)). I *hate* when people use their Facebook accounts to promote themselves professionally, and that's why my personal status updates are almost never related to my restaurant life.

So if you do friend me on Facebook (and I encourage every member of this website to do so because I consider you all my personal friends), it's not going to be some rehashing of my life over here. If you do want restaurant-related things, simply "like" the Facebook page called dcdining.com (and I hope everyone does that, too, but my personal Facebook and my dcdining.com Facebook are two mutually exclusive things).

Facebook has taken good people, and turned them into a bunch of self-promoters - I never want to be accused of being one of that group.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Don - Did what I sent you fix the problem?

Unfortunately, this didn't work. It gave me three options:

1) Unmark as top story

2) Hide story

3) Report story as spam

none of which prevent it from reappearing in the future.

Regarding this Washington Post Social Reader app, one possible business strategy might be, "Grab as many new readers as you can, before the fury sets in, and then (and only then) stop erring on the side of aggression." And if that's the case, then it appears to be working (click). As far as I'm concerned, this app is nothing more than de facto malware.

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Unfortunately, this didn't work. It gave me three options:

1) Unmark as top story

2) Hide story

3) Report story as spam

none of which prevent it from reappearing in the future.

Regarding this Washington Post Social Reader app, one possible business strategy might be, "Grab as many new readers as you can, before the fury sets in, and then (and only then) stop erring on the side of aggression." And if that's the case, then it appears to be working (click). As far as I'm concerned, this app is nothing more than de facto malware.

OK, so a few (hopefully) helpful things here:

Tip: mouse over the little triangle at the top left of such a post, when it is a top story. Click on the triangle. Doing so should keep WP posts like that from appearing in your "top stories" part of your feed, which should help your blood pressure. Moving it off "Top Stories" might be enough for you...but if not, and you see it in the normal updates below "Top Stories" then try the top right mouse-over thing again. It *may* now allow you to change it to a "block this app" status. But it may not. I've only gotten as far as burying it.

Thought: Those posts were you see what articles other people read - those would appear regardless if you downloaded the app or not. They are a result of others downloading the app and using it, for which they give the app permission to post this info as their status update - and you in turn choose to read the status updates of your friends. It seems somehow the WP app doesn't allow the "hide this app" button the way other apps do, but this may be on purpose by facebook - as a way to become a newsource of sorts, or even as a result of some pressure from WP over copyrights (just a guess, but if I were WP I'd do this). I have never downloaded the WP app but get other's posts and (like you) can't seem to hide the postings the way I can hide farmville and other game app postings.

Lastly: Facebook is pretty much take it or leave it. You experience change at a fairly fast pace because the underlying business model is highly profitable but not stabilized. I'm confident next year's facebook won't be much like this. I also think that might be good - for instance, I'd like to see options where your own facebook page can have a few different tabs, maybe one for a message-board style conversation (like your site here), another that's blog-style, another that is photo-based (which they have) and another for commercial feeds/news. Time and money will tell - I am now used to the 'top stories' style but still don't like it and think it detracts from the experience.

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OK, so a few (hopefully) helpful things here:

Tip: mouse over the little triangle at the top left of such a post, when it is a top story. Click on the triangle. Doing so should keep WP posts like that from appearing in your "top stories" part of your feed, which should help your blood pressure. Moving it off "Top Stories" might be enough for you...but if not, and you see it in the normal updates below "Top Stories" then try the top right mouse-over thing again. It *may* now allow you to change it to a "block this app" status. But it may not. I've only gotten as far as burying it.

Thought: Those posts were you see what articles other people read - those would appear regardless if you downloaded the app or not. They are a result of others downloading the app and using it, for which they give the app permission to post this info as their status update - and you in turn choose to read the status updates of your friends. It seems somehow the WP app doesn't allow the "hide this app" button the way other apps do, but this may be on purpose by facebook - as a way to become a newsource of sorts, or even as a result of some pressure from WP over copyrights (just a guess, but if I were WP I'd do this). I have never downloaded the WP app but get other's posts and (like you) can't seem to hide the postings the way I can hide farmville and other game app postings.

Lastly: Facebook is pretty much take it or leave it. You experience change at a fairly fast pace because the underlying business model is highly profitable but not stabilized. I'm confident next year's facebook won't be much like this. I also think that might be good - for instance, I'd like to see options where your own facebook page can have a few different tabs, maybe one for a message-board style conversation (like your site here), another that's blog-style, another that is photo-based (which they have) and another for commercial feeds/news. Time and money will tell - I am now used to the 'top stories' style but still don't like it and think it detracts from the experience.

Unfortunately, the instructions in your top paragraph didn't work. So instead, I've (temporarily) signed up for the app, and am sending out the following message to any of my Facebook friends who use it:

---

Dear Chris,

This is technically a "form letter," but I'm addressing it to you individually, and sending them one at a time.

You've signed up to use the app called "Washington Post Social Reader," and whether you know it or not, every single time you read an article on washingtonpost.com, this app tells all your Facebook friends, including me, which article you read. Even though I've blocked the app, it tells me about everything you've read anyway, because *you* haven't blocked the app.

For example, I know that you just read about Peyton Manning 13 minutes ago. In fact, if I click on your name, I can see every single article you've recently read (Kim Kardashian, Jerry Sandusky, etc.)

Is that really what you want? Do you really want me to know every single article you read?

If so, then I would ask that you please un-friend me on Facebook because I think that 1) it's a violation of your privacy, and 2) honestly, as much as I like you, I don't really want to see which articles you read on washingtonpost.com every time I sign onto Facebook.

If not, then I would ask that you look at the column on the left of your Facebook home page, under the "Apps" heading. Mouse over the one that has the Washington Post logo, and then click on "Remove App." The only thing that app does is violate your privacy.

If you feel as strongly about this as I do, please forward this message to some of your Facebook Friends who are unwittingly using this malevolent app.

And if not, then I won't take it personally if you un-friend me.

Cheers, and thanks for reading (and if you write me back, I'll respond with a more personal note).

Don Rockwell

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I've been trying to figure out why I don't see any of that at all!

I don't use the app, but it says that 43 of my friends do (hmmm...approximately 3%? Of course, many of my "friends" are random bartenders...). I'm also quick on the "Unsubscribe" button for anyone who posts things that are dumb or that I cannot read. And I try my best to block most apps...

But I keep going through my timeline, and I don't see a single story from the "Social Reader"...

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At the risk of feeding an obsession (my own, or Don's) - I may (may) have found the key to success.

When you are see one of the offending updates (in my case, it's that somebody I know read something in Yahoo news) in the ticker on the upper right - not in the larger "news feed" that takes up most of the left part of the screen, but in the right-side ticker - click on it. Click on it in the ticker. It pops into a slightly larger frame, at the top right of which is a clickable pointy thing that does give me the option to hide everything from this source (Yahoo). I do that, and the words then pop up that are what I want to hear: you won't get stuff from Yahoo in your news feed anymore.

Now, whether it actually works out that way is an entirely different question.

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Don-

I signed up for the App. I got the Status Update from a friend that had read about the fucking Kardashian's (this is not just unnecessary vulgarity but an apt descriptor).

I followed the instructions I emailed to you. I went to the right side of the post. Clicked on the "invisible pull-down". Went to the bottom of the column and clicked on "Hide all From Washington Post Social Reader".

And it was gone. Not sure why it does not work for you. :(

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Don-

I signed up for the App. I got the Status Update from a friend that had read about the fucking Kardashian's (this is not just unnecessary vulgarity but an apt descriptor).

I followed the instructions I emailed to you. I went to the right side of the post. Clicked on the "invisible pull-down". Went to the bottom of the column and clicked on "Hide all From Washington Post Social Reader".

And it was gone. Not sure why it does not work for you. :(

Precisely +1.

Although, I've done that before. This makes me think that, as with many things with Facebook, as they push out more (sometimes even invisible to us) changes, settings get undone. Which may also be happening to Don.

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Don-

I signed up for the App. I got the Status Update from a friend that had read about the fucking Kardashian's (this is not just unnecessary vulgarity but an apt descriptor).

I followed the instructions I emailed to you. I went to the right side of the post. Clicked on the "invisible pull-down". Went to the bottom of the column and clicked on "Hide all From Washington Post Social Reader".

And it was gone. Not sure why it does not work for you. :(

Precisely +1.

Although, I've done that before. This makes me think that, as with many things with Facebook, as they push out more (sometimes even invisible to us) changes, settings get undone. Which may also be happening to Don.

I'll try again. Ironically, it was the Social Reader that led me to this piece by Alex Bollinger which linked back to this website. I actually really appreciate him not ignoring dr.com (this is the first mention in quite awhile now).

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Don-

I signed up for the App. I got the Status Update from a friend that had read about the fucking Kardashian's (this is not just unnecessary vulgarity but an apt descriptor).

I followed the instructions I emailed to you. I went to the right side of the post. Clicked on the "invisible pull-down". Went to the bottom of the column and clicked on "Hide all From Washington Post Social Reader".

And it was gone. Not sure why it does not work for you. :(

I have yet to see "Hide all From Washington Post Social Reader." I've seen things that were close ("Remove Washington Post Social Reader," "Hide Story," "Mark Post as Spam," etc., and have clicked on them, but not these exact words. And so it remains. :angry:

To get this prompt, do I have to be subscribed to the app, or not subscribed to the app?

FYI, I just found something that says, "Block Washington Post Social Reader," so I clicked on it, then it prompted me with an "Are you sure you want to block all posts from Washington Post Social Reader?" so I clicked "Block," and then it came back with an error message that said, "Failed to hide minifeed story," and sent Safari into an endless loop and I had to force-quit it!

After I re-started it, I still get this same scenario, ending with "Failed to hide minifeed story."

This is chicken shit.

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This conversation only reconfirms the correctness of my decision not to have a Facebook account. I am not really a technophobe, but the whole thing just seems like a colossal waste of time.

One thing's for sure: a reasonable person would think that if you got this response enough times when you said you didn't want these feeds to be top stories:

"This is no longer a top story. We'll try not to put more stories like this at the top of your News Feed."

that the Facebook software might, at some point, take a hint that you don't want to see them; yet, it puts them up there anyway, incessantly.

The Washington Post is guilty of, at the minimum, erring on the side of aggression at the expense of Facebook users. And I think that's a pretty big deal.

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I just clicked on the link Tim Carman posted to his latest Washington Post article, and the reader app popped up and asked me if I wanted that shit to be authorized on my account. No, thank you.

If you said yes, you should be able to de-authorize the app by going into your facebook security settings and deleting its permissons.

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I just clicked on the link Tim Carman posted to his latest Washington Post article, and the reader app popped up and asked me if I wanted that shit to be authorized on my account. No, thank you.

If you said yes, you should be able to de-authorize the app by going into your facebook security settings and deleting its permissons.

Just tried this and noticed it wasn't listed. So I went to the app itself, clicked on "Block App," and got this message:

"Blocking Washington Post Social Reader will prevent others from sending you invitations and requests for this app and will prevent this app from getting any info about you. This will also prevent you from seeing Washington Post Social Reader if other people have it installed."

Okay, so, hopefully this will do it - I've never tried going into the app itself and blocking it there.

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