Facebook Needs a Real Mute Button

By Leslie Horn on at

Sick of seeing all the ice bucket challenge videos on Facebook? Too bad, my friend, you're stuck with them until the end of time. That is, until Facebook creates the one option it needs most: A real mute button.

Twitter has a mute feature that lets you unfollow a specific user without actually unfollowing them. The subtweet of all subtweets! It's glorious, and Facebook needs something comparable. As it stands now, Facebook lets you unsubscribe from a specific person or page, but not a topic. And good god, if you're anything like me, you're going to kick out a window if you have to see another ice bucket challenge video autoplay in your feed.

Facebook Needs a Real Mute Button

This month—or however long it takes a billion-odd people to pour buckets of ice over their heads—it's the ice bucket challenge clogging up your feed, but tomorrow it will be something else. This time last year it was probably Miley Cyrus and twerking (I know because I muted her). Every fourth year, whether you have American friends or not, it's about which presidential candidate is best and why the other one sucks and is a socialist.

Muting someone on Twitter helps you stay out of conversations you know you shouldn't get into. From time to time you'll see a post or a comment that you find offensive or know is just flat wrong—and try as you might to keep your lips sealed, you have to—you just have to—jump in. Nine times out of ten, you regret putting in your two cents' worth. A mute option would help you maintain the dignity of staying out of it—whatever the "it" du jour is. And it's almost always better to stay out of it. No Facebook thread ever put a racist idiot back on the straight and narrow.

For now, Facebook lets you unsubscribe. You should exercise that feature often. (I do!). But it needs to be more specific than that for the sake of our internet-based relationships—and our sanity.