Locked book

Some while back, Facebook borked the Pages feed where you could read all the entries from Pages that a Page liked. I suspect this wasn’t accidental - if you wanted to read all entries from Pages you followed, you could just create your own Page, like everything you wanted to follow, and read the Pages feed. Lifehack! Otherwise you only saw a tiny percentage of any given Page’s posts.

However, I used it in that specific example to follow all the businesses and churches and organizations in the Delano neighborhood, and re-share any important news, add any events to the calendar, etc. My Page follows over 200 other Pages, and ain’t no way I’m manually checking each one. So I pulled up Facebook::Graph and later OpenGraph and scraped the JSON for each Page. Next, I parsed the current entries into a quick-and-dirty preview page. It’s not a replacement for FB proper, but it gives me enough to decide which posts to click through to.

I figured I’d do roughly the same thing here, except for Users instead of Pages. Only… if I’m reading this right, the Graph API doesn’t allow that anymore unless each individual user has allowed the application to serve their feed. Unless I’m missing something, the Graph won’t work for me.

This makes life a little more awkward, but isn’t a dealbreaker. The only reason I’ve tolerated Facebook as long as I have has been FB Purity, a browser plugin that Facebook hates so much you know it’s good. (Seriously: you can’t mention it in a post you want other people to see at all, much less link to it.) FBP doesn’t use the API, it just makes requests same as FB’s own Javascript does. And bless Steve’s good heart, his code is unobfuscated and well commented, so it practically documents how to do everything through Facebook’s ajax. Sweet!

Installing a browser extension is still a little more friction than I wanted, especially given that you can’t get FBP anywhere other than its site because Facebook has made sure it doesn’t get listed by Mozilla or anybody else. But once over that hump, it does have the potential to make all kinds of things Just Work™… invisibly.