A Spam Filter You Use On Your Friends

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Rather is a new Chrome extension that promises to filter your Facebook and Twitter streams for you, replacing content you hate with content you like.

You give Rather a list of keywords, and when Rather sees a story containing a bad keyword on your feed, it replaces it with Instagram photos or stories from an RSS feed of your choice. For instance, you can replace every baby photo your friends post with a picture of a cute puppy. (Rather actually grew out of a service called unbaby.me, which only filtered for baby pictures.)

At first blush, Rather seems as much like a joke about social media as it does an actual product a person would use. That notion is fortified by Rather’s reviews in the Chrome store, which suggest that the service might not actually work that reliably.

But when you think about it, it seems like social media platforms would benefit from absorbing Rather’s functionality. As it stands right now, you can choose to hide someone from your feed entirely, but you can’t say that you only want to hear some of what they want to say. You should be allowed to unfollow an idea.

One last interesting side-feature to Rather is that it also provides a list of popular blocked topics. Scanning it, you get a snapshot of the diverse, unlikely multitude of stuff people would just prefer not to hear about. Today, the list includes George Takei, mass shootings, Movember, and Bitcoins.