Fucking “Suggested Post” (why web apps matter)

:: software, technology

So speaking of AdBlock, sometimes I forget it’s there.

I was using the Facebook app for iPad today. Which I hardly ever do. And I’m getting a lot of this in my feed:

Suggested Post

Suggested Post

And I’m all like:

The fuck was that... the fuck is this?

The fuck was that… the fuck is this?

And I’m clicking “report spam” on each of the little fuckers. Tap, tap, please bugger off. Tap, tap, suck my balls and bugger off. And so on.

Later it dawns on me: It’s because I’m using Facebook’s iPad app. Back in Chrome, the Facebook web app has been trying to show me the little fuckers delightful suggested posts, but AdBock has been quietly removing them.

The point? I can control this with a web app in a browser. I can use extensions, take charge, and bend it to my will. But with someone’s precious mobile app? They’re in control.

I hope and believe the web app will gradually prevail on mobile, as it’s been doing on the laptop/desktop. How many of us check email with web apps these days? Almost all of us. OK, sure, you there in the suit still using Outlook; give your IT department a couple more years to catch up, and that will change. Oh, and you there using gnus in Emacs on a circa 2001 ThinkPad? I like how you roll, but you’re the corner case, and you already understand and agree with the spirit of what I’m talking about: Web apps are hackable. Even if most people don’t know how to hack them, they know how to use extensions written by people who do.

This is important.

Yes, yes, I know. “Only native apps can access ____ feature on the device.” That’s temporary. That’s because the phone OS makers are unwilling or unable to let browser apps do this. So far.

I believe this will happen. I sure as hell hope it will. I’m not eager to be dragged back into the equivalent of telemarketing calls during dinner. And it’s not just about annoyance. The hackability of web apps is about empowering individual users with special needs of all kinds.