Let’s be honest. I’m a bit addicted to Facebook. I visit the site many times an hour, for many hours a day, for basically every day of the year.

Why is it so hard to unplug from Facebook? Some of my reluctance is because I want to legitimately stay connected - but most of it is just me wasting time. So I took a few hours and wrote Stop Facebook, a browser plugin.

It started with realizing the ways that I use Facebook - when am I using it “productively” and when am I wasting time?

Notifications are a good sign of productive usage. When I have notifications, I feel somewhat justified to use Facebook. When I don’t have notifications (and haven’t for some time), then there’s a good chance I’m just wasting time.

I also move around a lot. I stay on the same Facebook page for very short amounts of time, but move from my news feed to some random person, back and forth, all day. That’s probably a sign of wasting time.

I also realize that I’ll open a Facebook window, check my news feed, close out of it, then find myself doing the exact same thing 30 seconds later. I am constantly opening and closing Facebook tabs at work.

With this usage in mind, I wrote Stop Facebook. It should let me be on Facebook when I am using it to stay connected. It should kick me off when I’m wasting time.

Here are the basic ways it works:

  1. If you have notifications, it will always let you onto Facebook. Each notification gives you a certain amount of time you can be on Facebook.
  2. If you don’t have any notifications and you haven’t been on Facebook in the past 3 hours, you can be on Facebook for the next 3 minutes.
  3. You will only get kicked off of Facebook on actual page reloads. Facebook doesn’t actually reload the page when you’re navigating around - so it won’t interrupt you in the middle of a wall post or message. Once you’ve used your time up, it will still only be able to kick you off if you refresh the page or close and reopen Facebook (which I do frequently).

You can download the extension here and view the source on Github here.