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A de-bullshified version of Facebook (less ads, less clutter, less crap)

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Last edit: 05 / 18 / 2018
Last patched APK update: 05 / 18 / 2018
Last source APK update: 05 / 11 / 2018
Hello. I've been working on a patched Facebook APK for some time. My patched version tries to get rid of as much clutter, junk, and social garbage as possible. I am primarily targeting things like the clutter that pops up after most interactions with content ("Related Articles", "People Also Shared", "More Videos", etc), as well instagram upsells, "suggested posts", ads (obviously), and generally anything designed to either hijack your attention or to disingenuously present itself as "organic" content while being, in fact, paid content.

Though I've seen a number of facebook mods on here, I hadn't been able to find anything that focuses this closely on removing clutter and optimizing the interaction between user and content. And although this stuff can probably be done with an Xposed extension, the nice thing about a standalone APK is that non-rooted users can obviously benefit from it too.

I don't mind patching the stuff myself, though I'm mainly an ARM dude so having to dig through megs and megs of DEX bytecode all by myself has been rather tedious. The community has shown some interest, so I am publishing a preliminary link to my "bleeding-edge" version below, as well as to an older and possibly more stable version.

Clearly you have only my word that I hadn't introduced malware or a bitcoin miner, though you are welcome to unpack the APK and diff it against stock.

Terminology

* Facebook LC = "Facebook (with) Less 'Clutter'" - cleaned-up version of facebook with various garbage removed
* PYML = "Pages You May Like" (aka Suggested Pages)
* GYSJ = "Groups You Should Join" (aka Suggested Groups)
* PYSF = "People You Should Follow" (are they serious???)
* IA = "Instant Articles"
* Story = one fixed "item" in the news feed
* Chaining = you interacted with a certain piece of content, so here's a bunch of "related" junk in your face (because you are obviously incapable of managing your own attention). Related to FollowUp
* FollowUp = the crap that appears under a story whenever you interact with it.


List of mods (latest version):

* Hide "Suggested Posts" / "Sponsored Posts"
* Hide the snapchat-wannabe "Stories" bar at the top of the news feed (if I wanted snapchat, I'd install snapchat, thanks)
* Hide "People You May Know" from the NOTIFICATION area (and also in the main feed, for the time being)
* Hide "Pages You May Like" crap (facebook's over-promotion of "Pages" is what caused me to start this whole mod in the first place)
* Hide "Story you may publish" nonsense (I haven't seen this myself but others have, so I'm preemptively nuking this)
* Hide "Top Stories From Your Groups" stuff (seriously, who actually wants to see this stuff?)
* Hide "Popular Stories From Your Pages" / "Page Stories You Missed" / whatever that nonsense is called these days. (again with the pages... I know how to click on them if I care, thanks)
* Hide "Suggested Products" / "Product Deals For You" nonsense (seriously guys?)
* Hide "Invite your friends to join this group" (or whatever that spam-promption junk is called)
* Hide "Groups You Should Join" / "Suggested Groups" (we are all capable of using the search box to find things we care about, thank you very much).
* Hide "People You Should Follow" (really? are they serious?)
* Hide "Products shown:" cards (please stop giving me ads based on object recognition in my friends' photos, thx)
* Hide "Recommended from you from marketplace" garbage
* Hide "Related Articles" crap from news feed when interacting with an article (trying too hard to hijack the content interaction flow)
* Hide "Trending Topics" / "Topics to Follow" crap I think. I haven't seen this in a while but may as well hide it since it sounds useless.
* Hide "Sale Groups Near You" nonsense (again with the pushing of sales. All we want to do is to organically interact with our friends, thanks)
* Hide "Marketplace Stories For You" junk (again, people who don't care about your "Marketplace" aren't suddenly going to use it because you're pushing ads. If I cared, I'd click on the Marketplace icon. My refusal to use it is not for a lack of knowing where to find it)
* Hide some junk that may potentially be related to place recommendations (though I always just deny location access to FB anyway)
* Hide some things related to people on Messenger, maybe. Though some of these may still show up, facebook seems to respect your choice if you click the triangle and select "I don't want to see this."
* Hide just about all "follow-up" items. Ie, "More from related pages" junk that happens when you interact with an outbound content item (I think). Again, stop trying to hijack my attention - I am perfectly capable of managing it myself
* Maybe hide "Connect with Facebook" nonsense that sometimes appears (though I haven't seen this in a while and it's hard to prove a negative)
* Hide ads interspersed throughout Instant Articles (though perhaps not the ones occurring after the articles)*
* Hide "Related Articles" / "Popular from <X>" in Instant Articles (now they're just trying too hard)
* Hide "Sign up with your email address" junk from Instant Articles, at least at the TOP of the article (are you kidding me...?)
* Partially hide some instagram upsells (yes, I know where to get instagram - I haven't been living under a rock). You might still see a post or two promoting instagram photos from friends, though this should be better addressed in the current release. This isn't super high on my radar right now, but I'll revisit it if I find a way to easily reproduce this. Otherwise, the risk of force-close using untested code isn't really worth it.
* Kill the update nag screen. (we'll stick to the patched version, thanks).
* Get rid of more "call-to-action" junk (install instagram, etc)
* Get rid of the Groups tab (guys, your attempts to increase group engagement are seriously starting to backfire)
* Get rid of the Marketplace tab (let's get something straight. our refusal to use marketplace has nothing to with our lack of awareness of marketplace)
* Get rid of redundant Photo footer nonsense, etc.
* Get rid of the "Up Next" countdown bar that appears after watching some videos (especially episodes). When I watch videos, I watch them for the content, rather than for knowing what comes after. Stop trying to hijack my attention by pushing the "next" video, before I'm even done watching the current one.


Known issues:

* "So-and-so likes <page X>" isn't hidden. I have no idea where to even begin looking for this type of thing.
* Ads in Instant Articles might be hidden, but they might show up as lingering spinner boxes. It's hard for me to test this because most of these are served from external ad servers, and my phone has DNS-based ad blocking, so I can't test vanilla behavior without undoing that.
* Some of the more random / annoying "attachment junk" (Learn More, Shop Now, etc) might not be hidden. These can have some text in them that may actually be useful to the post, so I'm hesitant to just nuke these
* I haven't done manifest cleanup on this version (or the one before it, technically). That means stripping out annoying background services, location-related crap, bluetooth scanning, etc.


Installation
Prior to installing, be sure to uninstall all other applications that are made by Facebook. This includes FB itself, Messenger, Messenger Lite, Page Manager, etc. These do not always cause installation problems (though they should). The problem is that all apps in the FB family use key-based authentication for data sharing. So since my modded app is signed with my key, all FB companion apps need to be signed with that key as well. I've included some of the popular ones below. You might also need to enable installation of apps from unknown sources. If you get an installation error, try installing with ADB and see what the actual error is.

THE STUFF:
Facebook LC (the main reason for all this):
Latest experimental version: facebook-lc-v12.3 (most up-to-date, but received limited testing as a result)
Most recent "stable" version: facebook-lc-v11.1 (stable but older version; might nag you to update)


Messenger (v161): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=818070582850508154

See "past releases" for earlier versions.

Other FB apps signed with the same key (but not modified):
Messenger (v145): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=889964283620770051
Messenger (v143): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=673791459329060741
Messenger Lite (v19): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=962021903579496430
Messenger Lite (v26): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=962187416754466503
Pages Manager (v143): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=889964283620770148
Workplace by Facebook (as of late 11/17): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=745849072291692749
Workplace Chat (as of late 11/17): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=673791459329065274
Groups: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fpbo4yupb7...2-resigned.apk
FB Lite (as of 8/5/17, re-signed but otherwise unmodified): https://www.dropbox.com/s/22yw4wti33...1-resigned.apk
Ads Manager: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kddzttl9h4...2-resigned.apk

If someone wants to join forces in terms of decompilation / disassembly / searching the haystack for how to nuke other unwanted FB garbage, please let me know. I can give you the script I use for repacking the APK (though since FB stopped using their obnoxious Buck multi-dex structure, this is basically just a bunch of calls to sha1sum and apktool). My current method of modding the DEX files involves a decompiler (to find the logic I want), a disassembler (to find the instructions I want), a hex editor (to do the actual patching), and FixDEXChecksum from the internets. Surely there must be a better way! I am not sure of smali/baksmali would work here (again, due to multi-dex) but perhaps the less obnoxious (non-Buck) stuff that FB is using these days may be easier to work with when using the smali tools. (I don't really know how this stuff works - I'm more used to ARM code and all this java stuff is way over my head)

Changelog and past releases:

(v12.1 and v12.2 were intermediate / experimental releases that were superseded by v12.3, above. These were missing a few things and weren't terribly interesting)

v11.1 - Previous release (3 / 08 / 2018)
* Rebase to the 3 / 1 / 2018 version of the source APK
* v11.1 download link: facebook-lc-v11.1

v10.2 - Previous release (12 / 07 / 2017)
* Rebase to the 11/22/2017 version of the source APK. This is an APK for Android 4.x+.
* v10.2 download link: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=673791459329065503
* Optional: Alternate version with event footers removed.

v9.2 - Previous release (9 / 30 / 2017)
* Rebase to the 9/23/2017 version of the source APK. This is an APK for Android 5.x+.
* Try to do a better job of getting rid of marketplace-related nonsense
* v9.2 download link: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=745849072291677473

v8.4 - Previous release (9 / 14 / 2017)
* Get rid of the Marketplace tab
* Get rid of the Groups tab
* Get rid of new marketplace "recommended" garbage
* v8.4 download link: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=962021903579481430

v8.2 - Previous release (8 / 4 / 2017)
* Update base APK to 7 / 25 / 2017.
* v8.2 download link: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=745849072291677503

v7 - Latest stable (but outdated) release (7 / 8 / 2017)
* Unlock internal settings menus (Feed Settings, MobileConfig, Internal Preferences). These are accessed via long-press. See main post for details.
* See main post for complete list of mods
* v7 download link: https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=673791459329049834


v6 - Latest stable release (7 / 8 / 2017)
* Fix a bug where "Products shown" crap wasn't being hidden properly. You might still see the title, but the actual product ads should be gone
* v6 download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vvck330o9t...book-lc-v6.apk


v5 - Previous release (6 / 12 / 2017)
* Fix a bug where the update nag screen wasn't being disabled properly.
* Bring back the built-in browser, which also brings back "related content" associated with videos that play directly in the browser. I can try to kill specifically just the video-related stuff, but this is much more nuanced.
* v5 download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j1vsbfefyj...book-lc-v5.apk

v4 - Previous experimental release (6 / 7 / 2017)
* Rebase all patches on top of base APK from 6/1/17
* Use Android 4.0.3 version of base APK this time
* Hide the "related content" crap that appears on the lower half of the screen when watching a video that opens using the built-in browser. This is probably the single worst UI feature of the facebook app (partly because it loads external content and has been used as a malware channel). What were these people thinking?
* v4 download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/d33ubcpaxr...book-lc-v4.apk


v3 - Latest stable release (5 / 23 / 2017)
* Remove "People You May Know" from the Notification list (what the hell were they thinking??)
* Get rid of more obnoxious follow-ups ("More From Related Pages", "Featured For You") and clean up existing anti-followup patches
* Get rid of the snapchat-wannabe "Stories" bar. If I wanted snapchat, I'd install snapchat.
* Try to do a better job of hiding "Pages You May Like", but it's tough to tell if this is working (since it's hard to prove a negative).
* v3 download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0s1mx5jxlo...lc-v3.apk?dl=0

List of mods:
* Hide "Suggested Posts" / "Sponsored Posts"
* Hide the snapchat-wannabe "Stories" bar at the top of the news feed (if I wanted snapchat, I'd install snapchat, thanks)
* Hide "People You May Know" from the NOTIFICATION area. (I don't mind this in the news feed, but what moron thought to put this under Notifications? Zuck must be afraid investors will bail because growth is slowing)
* Hide "Pages You May Like" horizontal scroll crap
* Hide "Related Articles" crap from news feed when interacting with an article (trying too hard to hijack the content interaction flow)
* Hide Pages You May Like*
* Hide "Suggested Products From Your Groups" (seriously guys?)
* Hide "Featured for you" items in groups / pages (I think) (featured by whom? organic selection or paid manipulation?)
* Hide "Invite your friends to join this group" (or whatever that spam-promption crap is called)
* Hide "Groups You Should Join" / "Suggested Groups" (we are all capable of using the search box to find things we care about, thank you very much)
* Hide "People You Should Follow" (really? are they serious?)
* Hide "Video Chaining"
* Hide "Products shown:" cards (please stop giving me ads based on object recognition in my friends' photos, thx)
* Hide "Follow / Share" bar that appears when you interact with content (I know where to find the share button, since it's already plastered all over the damn screen, thanks)
* Hide ads in Instant Articles*
* Hide "Related Articles" / "Popular from <X>" in Instant Articles (now they're just trying too hard)
* Hide "Sign up with your email address" crap from Instant Articles (are you kidding me...?)
* Partially hide some instagram upsells (yes, I know where to get instagram, if I should ever find myself in need of something to motivate me to bash my head in with a rock)
* Partially hide the "More Views" pill that appears 2/3 into watching a video. (I don't need yet one more piece of UI garbage to hijack my attention flow, thanks)
* Replace passive-aggressive "Now now" response options to user-unfriendly actions with more appropriate (and more snarky) responses
* Kill the update nag screen (I think). (we'll stick to the patched version, thanks)
* Hide the "related content" crap that appears on the lower half of the screen when watching a video that opens using the built-in browser. This is probably the single worst UI feature of the facebook app (partly because it loads external content and has been used as a malware channel). What were these people thinking?
* Try to get rid of most of the follow-ups, period ("More From Related Groups", "Related Articles", "Featured For You", "People Also Shared"). Not sure if this worked, since it's hard to prove a negative, but it should work in theory. If the facebook were less of a crufty piece of crap, I'd be more confident that I had patched the right code path.
* Get rid of more "call-to-action" crap (install instagram, etc)

Known issues:
* The "Connect With Facebook" / "People You Can Message" crap might not be fully hidden. But, from looking at the code, it looks like facebook "might" respect your wishes if you click the triangle icon and click on "I don't want to see this". If not, we'll revisit this code path
* "So-and-so likes <page X>" isn't hidden. I have no idea where to even begin looking for this type of thing.
* The "More Videos" pill has its text / arrow hidden, but a blue circle still appears in its place
* Ads in Instant Articles might be hidden, but they might show up as lingering spinner boxes. It's hard for me to test this because most of these are served from external ad servers, and my phone has DNS-based ad blocking, so I can't test vanilla behavior without undoing that.



v2 - Past release (05 / 04 / 2017)
* Get rid of the "related content" crap that appears on the lower half of the screen when watching a video that opens inside the built-in browser. This is probably the single worst UI feature of the facebook app (partly because it loads external content and has been used as a malware channel).
* Try to get rid of the "featured for you" follow-up, when interacting with a page your friend liked. Not sure if this worked, since it's hard to prove a negative.
* Get rid of more "call-to-action" crap (install instagram, etc)
* v2 download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z3keufx05i...lc-v2.apk?dl=0

v1 - Past release (04 / 08 / 2017)
* Initial release
* v1 download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kvo056f1io...lc-v1.apk?dl=0


ENJOY AND HAVE FUN!
- evilwombat

Ps. At one point, I had a resource-hacked version that replaced all instances of "Like" with "Lick", though I am not sure how well that would fly with modern code.
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8th April 2017, 05:32 PM |#2  
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FAQs

1. What if my phone came with Facebook as a system app, and I can't uninstall it?
This is unfortunate, because trying to directly install Facebook LC on such a phone will result in a package conflict. The phone will not accept the modded FB app because it has the same package name as the System FB app, and they are not signed by the same key. One possible solution is to use something like App Clone or APK Editor (or perhaps something that's free) to change the APK name of Facebook LC from the default name ("com.facebook.katana") to something unique, to avoid the package conflict with the System FB version. However, this may lead to residual problems with the interactions between FB and Messenger. Even though you can probably re-name and re-sign both Facebook and Messenger, the problem is that even through their names have been changed, the communications code inside them will still refer to the original factory names for each other, which can prevent them from properly communicating. This could result in FB showing Unread Message notifications, even though Messenger has consumed them. I... am not sure how to get around this, but perhaps someone who's had to deal with this directly can provide more insight.

All About Messenger....

You will keep getting Message Notification in FB-LC app even if you don't install messenger, But you won't able to see those message as FB will Redirect/Force you to download messenger (-_-)
If you are not heavy FB Messenger user, you can try http://mbasic.facebook.com/messages in browser/chrome when you get notification to see/reply, as i do. (Bookmark that link for easier access) Otherwise read below....

2. How to Use/Update Messenger with FB-LC
You need to sign FB-LC & Messenger (or any other FB app with same signing key


3. But..But...WHY ?
1. All Facebook-related applications (including FB for Android, Messenger, Pages Manager, etc) on any given phone must be signed using the same key. This is what allows them to talk to each other (in terms of account / notification info), despite technically being separate applications. Normally, when you install FB and Messenger (and other stuff) from the Play Store, this is not a problem, because these apps are already signed by the same key. However, any modded version of FB (such as what is posted here) will be signed with the key of the person who modded it. Therefore, when installing a modded FB app, it is necessary to uninstall *all* other FB applications (including Messenger) prior to installing the modded FB app.

2. So, If you wish to install a Messenger app along side the modded FB app, you have two options:
A) The first post in this thread contains links to Messenger (and other FB-related apps) that have been re-signed with the same key as Facebook LC. This allows them to coexist (and co-operate) on the same phone without issues.
B) You can grab the APK for Facebook LC, the APK for any version of Messenger you like, generate your own signing key, sign them BOTH with the key you generated, and install them both on your phone. This will work just as easily. The upside is that you have more choices over which exact version of Messenger to install, but the downside is having to go with manually signing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bauer18

I dunno how to resign it as you suggested. I'm not a developer, so I don't know anything about it.

4. How to Sign APKs ?

Steps
  1. Uninstall all the FB apps from your phone including FB-LC
  2. Download apk from apkmirror (messenger) & FB-LC from OP (if not already)
  3. Sign all these APKs with "test key" (use windows tool for faster signing because zip signer will take half an hour to sign all these)
  4. Install these signed APKs

Details
Windows , (I suggest this option as it'll be much faster)
You need Java installed in windows.
Download it from here..https://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp
Use,
https://forum.xda-developers.com/sho....php?t=2478180

OR
Android
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...psigner2&hl=en

# Use test-key. Sign with same key to ALL your Facebook apps, FB-LC, Messenger, Lite apps or any other you are using.

# You need to sign FB-LC only once before installing (whenever new version comes)
For Messenger and all, You have to sign them whenever you want to update it with same key that you used in FB-LC (test-key in this case).

# After signing first time you need to Uninstall PlayStore version of all FB apps & original FB-LC before you install your signed apks. As cross signature installation is not possible.

# Once you install your signed version you can update them with your future signed version (test-key) without uninstall

# After signing Messenger you won't get update via play store. So, you need to use apkmirror whenever you want to update & sign it. You can grab updated apk from here. https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/facebook-2/messenger/

PS : You can zipalign APKs after signing for better ram management. Read Here.(it's not mandatory but recommended).
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8th April 2017, 05:33 PM |#3  
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Hi, it has embeedded messenger, like lorantm mod? Post link to test. thanks
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8th April 2017, 08:44 PM |#4  
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would like to test it too

Gesendet von meinem Y6 Max mit Tapatalk 2
8th April 2017, 08:46 PM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilwombat

Hello. I've been working on a patched Facebook APK for some time. My patched version tries to get rid of as much bull****, clutter, and social garbage as possible. I am primarily targeting things like the garbage that pops up after most interactions with content ("Related Articles", "People Also Shared", "More Videos", etc), as well instagram upsells, "suggested posts", ads (obviously), and generally anything designed to either hijack your attention or to disingenuously present itself as "organic" content while being, in fact, paid content.

Though I've seen a number of facebook mods on here, I hadn't been able to find anything that focuses this closely on removing clutter and optimizing the interaction between user and content. And although this stuff can probably be done with an Xposed extension, the nice thing about a standalone APK is that non-rooted users can obviously benefit from it too.

Is this something that people would be interested in, for either direct consumption, or for further hacking? I don't mind patching the stuff myself, though I'm mainly an ARM dude so having to dig through megs and megs of DEX bytecode all by myself has been rather tedious.

Clearly you have only my word that I hadn't introduced malware or a bitcoin miner, though you are welcome to unpack the APK and diff it against stock.

So, is anyone interested? Would it be bad form to post a link to the APK here?
If you want to try out a "bleeding edge" build, message me

Thanks!

Want to try this as well. Please post the link. Thanks!
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8th April 2017, 09:34 PM |#6  
I'm interested in testing this
8th April 2017, 09:40 PM |#7  
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+1

Sent from my ONE+A2005 using Tapatalk
8th April 2017, 11:00 PM |#8  
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Always interested to try new alternative Facebook app.

Paid for swipe and its now broken and not updated, so trying face slim for now
9th April 2017, 09:32 AM |#9  
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Cool. I'm glad people are interested! I have updated the top-level post with links to my current bleeding-edge version. Good luck and have fun!
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9th April 2017, 10:12 AM |#10  
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Installed and trying both.

Good luck with project, be nice to use "official" apps without any of the downsides
9th April 2017, 01:30 PM |#11  
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@evilwombat can you share your script please?
I am using FB v80 patched since all later versions are buggy to me.
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