Facebook's New 'Snooze' Feature Could Filter Spoilers From Your News Feed


The internet may soon become a much safer place for people looking to avoid spoilers. As TechCrunch reports, Facebook is testing a feature that would allow you to "snooze" certain words in your news feed for 30 days, including the title of your favorite movie franchise or TV show.

The snooze feature has already been made available to a small number of Facebook users. To enable it, you first need to find a post that contains the words you don't want to see. Tapping the drop-down arrow will bring up the option to “snooze keywords in this post." From there, you'll be given a list of nouns in the text you might want to filter out of future posts. (A post about Game of Thrones might give you the option to block the words "Jaime," "Cersei," and "White Walkers," for example.) The snooze setting will automatically expire after 30 days.

Finding a post with the exact words you don't want to read in the first place may make the feature more trouble than it's worth, but Facebook tells TechCrunch it's working on changing that. By the time it rolls out for everyone, users may be able to snooze keywords preemptively by going to their news feed preferences. The Facebook team is also looking into making snooze lists easy to save, so you can reactivate them whenever your favorite sports team plays a game or a new episode of a show you love premieres.

Snooze is good for more than hiding spoilers: It can also be used to block triggering or offensive words, but users will still need to enable it every 30 days. Unlike Twitter, Facebook gives its users no option to mute words permanently, but that may change based on the response to this new feature.

[h/t TechCrunch]

Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

Google Is Tracking Everything You Do With Its ‘Smart’ Features—Here’s How to Make That Stop

Maybe you don't want Google seeing how many exclamation points you use in your emails.
Maybe you don't want Google seeing how many exclamation points you use in your emails.
Taryn Elliott, Pexels

Since we don’t all have personal assistants to draft emails and update our calendars, Google has tried to fill the void with ‘smart’ features across Gmail, Google Chat, and Google Meet. These automatic processes cover everything from email filtering and predictive text to notifications about upcoming bills and travel itineraries. But such personalized assistance requires a certain amount of personal data.

For example, to suggest email replies that match what you’d choose to write on your own—or remind you about important emails you’ve yet to reply to—Google needs to know quite a bit about how you write and what you consider important. And that involves tracking your actions when using Google services.

For some people, Google’s helpful hints might save enough time and energy to justify giving up full privacy. If you’re not one of them, here’s how to disable the ‘smart’ features.

As Simplemost explains, first open Gmail and click the gear icon (settings) in the upper right corner of the page. Select ‘See all settings,’ which should default to the ‘General’ tab. Next to ‘Smart Compose,’ ‘Smart Compose personalization,’ and ‘Smart Reply,’ choose the ‘Off’ options. Next to ‘Nudges,’ uncheck both boxes (which will stop suggestions about what emails you should answer or follow up on). Then, switch from the ‘General’ tab to ‘Inbox’ and scroll down to ‘Importance markers.’ Choose ‘No markers’ and ‘Don’t use my past actions to predict which messages are important.’

Seeing these settings might make you wonder what other information you’ve unwittingly given Google access to. Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy way to customize it. If you open the ‘Accounts’ tab (beside ‘Inbox’) and choose ‘Google Account settings,’ there’s an option to ‘Take the Privacy Checkup.’ That service will walk you through all the privacy settings, including activity tracking on Google sites, ad personalization, and more.

[h/t Simplemost]