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

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Last edit: 12/ 7 / 2017
Last patched APK update: 12 / 7 / 2017
Last source APK update: 11 / 22 / 2017
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.

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 Crap" - de-bullshified 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" crap 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 (experimental 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. (I don't mind this in the news feed, but this is just trying too hard)
* 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" crap (seriously, do they actually think we care?)
* Hide "Popular Stories From Your Pages" / "Page Stories You Missed" / whatever that crap 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" crap (seriously guys?)
* 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 "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 like garbage.
* 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" crap (again, people who don't care about your "Marketplace" aren't suddenly going to use it because you're pushing ads. If I wanted a reason to bash my own head in, I'll click the stupid Marketplace icon in the top bar, thank you)
* Hide some crap 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" crap that happens when you interact with an outbound content item (I think). Again, stop trying to hijack my attention.
* 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 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). You might still see a post or two promoting instagram photos from friends. 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.
* 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. (we'll stick to the patched version, thanks).
* Get rid of more "call-to-action" crap (install instagram, etc)
* Get rid of the Groups tab (guys, growth is slowing, but why do you have to make that the users' PROBLEM?)
* 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 crap, 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.
* Some of the more random / annoying "attachment crap" (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
* You may see "So-and-so is using instagram" followed by a friend's instagram photo. These currently are not hidden, and I need to dig more, if we care. The hscroll-style "instagram photos from friends"
* 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): facebook-lc-v10.2
Optional: Alternate version with event footers removed. I'm not sure how I feel about this (and how most people do, either), so here's both for now. Aside from one event footer element being hidden, there is no difference from the main version.

Messenger (v145): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=889964283620770051

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 (old version, pre-stories): http://club.cc.cmu.edu/~smoskovc/fac...-Messenger.apk
Messenger Lite (v19): https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=962021903579496430
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:

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, 06:33 PM |#2  
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Hi, it has embeedded messenger, like lorantm mod? Post link to test. thanks
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8th April 2017, 09:44 PM |#3  
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would like to test it too

Gesendet von meinem Y6 Max mit Tapatalk 2
8th April 2017, 09:46 PM |#4  
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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, 10:34 PM |#5  
I'm interested in testing this
8th April 2017, 10:40 PM |#6  
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+1

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9th April 2017, 12:00 AM |#7  
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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, 10:32 AM |#8  
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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, 11:12 AM |#9  
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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, 02:30 PM |#10  
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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.
9th April 2017, 03:56 PM |#11  
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Won't Install on 7.0 says package may be corrupt
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