Marc Stumpel and Tobias Leingruber organized the Facebook Resistance workshop for Unlike Us on Friday evening at the Studio HvA. Marc Stumpel is a new media researcher form Amsterdam and has been involved with Unlike Us from the outset. He is part of the Facebook Resistance project and has written about Facebook Resistance for the Unlike Us reader. Tobias Leingruber is a German designer and artist and is known for his Facebook Identity card project, which he talked about earlier in the day. The Facebook Resistance workshop was a very interactive and practical workshop and many participants ended up with a completely new (and sometimes even unreadable) version of Facebook – including moving gifs.
So how can you change your Facebook?
First of all, it is good to know that Facebook won’t even notice the changes you make; you will only change how the browser will process Facebooks code with the tools provided by Marc and Tobias. This is called augmented browsing and can be performed with browser add-ons like Greasemonkey, a Firefox add-on that allows end-users to install scripts that make on-the-fly changes to HTML-based web pages. Marc and Tobias are not that interested in ‘pimping’ their profiles to just make them more aesthetically appealing, they prefer changing Facebook to make enhancements to the user experience.
A way to perform live hacking is by using the Firefox add-on Firebug. After you installed it you can hover over Facebook and it will point out how the HTML works. You can change the code, for example to change the color of the header, to change someones profile picture (like in the picture above) and to remove adds. However, Firebug does not allow you to save the changes you made to Facebook.
Fortunately, Greasemonkey does allow you to save the changes in you browser. You can install user scripts that change the layout and some functions of Facebook. However, Marc and Tobias warn that you should be really careful with this and you should review a script before use and not trust any script blindly. Actually, two of the participants of the workshop ended up with a bad userscript. One of them started up liking random pages and automatically created groups and events, another participant automatically followed developers he did not know and unpurposely removed all his educational history.
Which userscript should you use?
A good example is Facebook Colour Changer. This script allows you to change the header and the search bar on the top of the Facebook page.
This is how it works:
1. Go to http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/9475/
2. Copy the code (or click on install)
3. Open Firefox and start Greasemonkey. Click on the button on the upper left and create a new userscript.
4. Enter a name and paste your code form the usersscript
5. Refresh Facebook
6. Click on the Greasemonkey menu again, make sure the Facebook Colour Changer is selected and start playing around!
Another add-on I personally like is Adblock Plus. This userscripts removes all the advertisements from Facebook, what a delight! Also, Webmarker allows user to make web graffiti on any webpage, see the picture below.
More safe userscripts and tips & tricks can be found on the Facebook page of FB Resistance Artists. Have fun!