Louis Barclay, a developer in the U.K., created a browser extension called Unfollow Everything. The extension allows users to automatically unfollow all friends and pages on Facebook, leaving the newsfeed blank.
In July of this year, a full year after publishing the extension on the Google Chrome store, Barclay received a cease-and-desist order from Facebook’s lawyers and found his Facebook and Instagram accounts permanently disabled.
In a brief interview with Insider, Barclay said he was "really scared" and "very anxious."
Barclay detailed his experience in a post on Slate in which he detailed his reasons for developing the extension as well as Facebook’s reaction to it.
"The company demanded that I take down the tool. It also told me that it had permanently disabled my Facebook account — an account that I’d had for more than 15 years, and that was my primary way of staying in touch with family and friends around the world," Barclay wrote. He posted a redacted version of the cease-and-desist letter online.
Facebook cited one of its terms that prohibited interfering with the "intended operation of Facebook" and claimed the tool encouraged others to break Facebook’s rules.
"Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer," Barclay argued. "The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook."
He has considered legal action, but U.K. rules make it so that he might end up paying Facebook’s legal costs if he lost.
"Facebook is a trillion-dollar company. I couldn't afford that risk," he wrote in his Slate post.