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How to Block the Log In / Sign Up Popup on Facebook

When browsing a public page or event on facebook without being logged in, an annoying popup banner gets displayed. Log in or sign up, it says. And if you click „not now“, it will not vanish but stay obstrusively on the bottom of the page, banning your view from the site on nearly half of the area. After a couple of seconds it rises up again to full size, forcing you to interact again.
The banner seems like a kind of brute force nudge. It wants you to disclose to the network who you are so that specific ads can be displayed to you, and your visit to the site can be added to your personal record of interests and browsing history.

Screenshot Facebook log in / sign up popup

Can we get rid of this?

Yes, we can, and it is really easy! You only have to use Firefox with the uBlock Origin addon. (Addendum: the uBlock Origin pugin is also available for Chrome!) uBlock Origin is actually a blocker for commercial ads, tracking and spying cookies. But it allows to add custom filters, which can be used against the facebook Log in / Sign up popup. (Btw, this functionality also served as an easy way to disable the click tracking in Google search results, described in a previous post.)

The custom filter blocking the Facebook Log in / Sign up banner is just this:

! Remove Facebook Log In / Sign Up banner 
facebook.com###pagelet_growth_expanding_cta
facebook.com###u_0_6

Setting it up is actually not difficult:

Step-by-step instructions for Firefox with uBlock Origin:

  1. Install the uBlock Origin addon from the addon’s web site or the Firefox Addons menu (Tools -> Addons).
  2. Open the uBlock Origin dashboard by entering chrome://ublock0/content/dashboard.html into the browser’s location bar. Alternatively, click on the settings button in the uBlock Origin menu which is in the top right corner of your Firefox toolbar (same for Chrome).
  3. In the Dashboard, open the tab „My filters“.
  4. Add the two lines of the filter into the big text field (see screenshot below) and click „Apply Changes“.

Screenshot configuration of custom filter.

„But I could also just log in to Facebook to get rid of the popup …?“

Yes, you can, but it is better to not log in to Facebook. As soon as your are logged in, the platform records your browsing history and your individual click stream through the web – also on pages outside Facebook itself. This information is used commercially and psychologically by Facebook. For instance, Facebook uses this information to build detailed profiles of what kind of users are interested in a certain page or event. This makes all kind of nudging and manipulation techniques possible, subtly governing you and the way you are moving through the web. For instance, certain ads may be displayed to you or your friends based on this information. Or certain pages or events get prioritized or de-prioritized in your or your friends‘ Facebook feeds. Or you see political campaigns fitted to what is measured to be your individual psychological disposition. This is to steer your cultural, political or consumerist interests and activities.

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