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A New Chrome Extension Removes the Negativity from Your Twitter Feed

Rob Walker
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech

Many were outraged at the news that Facebook had tinkered with member News Feeds, suppressing or highlighting “happy” and “sad” updates to see how these subtle mood shifts influenced its audience.

But here’s a different line of thought: What if you would like to directly influence the “mood” of your social-media intake? What if, for instance, you want to screen out negativity on Twitter?

Waxy.org points to someone offering up a possible tool for that very purpose. A Better Place is a Chrome extension and bookmarklet created by Jonty Wareing, designed to screen out unpleasant tweets.

It was, he writes, explicitly inspired by Facebook’s “unethical research proving the attitude of social media seriously affects mood for extended periods of time.” But in this case, it’s a willful “filter bubble,” drawing on “AFINN-111 sentiment analysis, which is awful, but still better than everything else when using twitter.” 

The Chrome extension automatically screens out negativity between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. (on the theory that it’s best to start one’s day without any mood spoilers). The bookmarklet is designed to let you toggle back and forth: In my (very limited) testing, it screened out a tweet from someone linking to an article on “why hiring in Japan can be hard for startups.”

Two negative tweets. (Twitter)

That does sound like a drag. Also totally irrelevant to me, but I don’t think there’s a way of screening out such things from social media.

Oops — sorry to be a downer! As Wareing writes: “Have a nice day.”

Write to me at rwalkeryn@yahoo.com or find me on Twitter, @notrobwalker. RSS lover? Paste this URL into your reader of choice: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/author/rob-walker/rss.