Tech by VICE

How to Remove Political Rants from Your Facebook News Feed

Please, uncle, no more political memes. You're a grown man.

by Bryan Rose
Sep 5 2016, 11:00am

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in 2011. Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

There's a little more than 60 days left until the election, and for some people that's one long, perilous stretch. To say that this election has been heated is like saying the sun is a little hot. Both candidates have said some particularly nasty things about one another, not to mention some really hurtful allegations. And believe it or not it, this hateful rhetoric has now spread to the internet, as anyone who's searched for "Trump" or "Hillary" on Twitter will understand.

Comedian Abby Elliott has seen these kinds of tweets.

"There's so much negativity online these days," she told Motherboard. "I don't personally log into Facebook to see a political rant from someone I went to high school with."

"With social media now, people have an outlet to say whatever they want... there's a fine line between harassment and freedom of speech," she said.

That may be why she agreed to partner with Maytag for what the company calls a "No Smear Campaign." It's weird that a kitchen appliance manufacturer wants to get in on the election furor, but the company says it wants to educate people on the election rather than have them read political "smears." You know—smears, stainless steel, etc.

Images like this replace political rants in your feeds. Image: Maytag

The company has released an app for Google Chrome that allows users to hide intrusive tweets from both candidates. So for example, if someone uses negative language over the latest Donald Trump rally, it's blocked in favor of George Washington giving you a thumbs up. And instead of another rant on Hillary's emails, you'll instead see a picture of a very patriotic bald eagle, or maybe even the likes of Uncle Sam or Abraham Lincoln.

Once installed, the app works pretty well, a few hiccups aside. While negative tweets about either candidate were replaced by Benjamin Franklin and Uncle Sam, a couple of tweets in my timeline having nothing to do with the election were also blocked. It seems that profanity may trigger the app even with non-political posts—something to keep in mind.

No matter who you support in this year's election, one thing is certain—November 8 can't come soon enough. And for those who will continue their campaigns of hate? Well, Abby Elliott had a short, succinct reply to them: "Lighten up!"