A modified Facebook app for Android removes ‘ads, clutter, and crap’ – like Stories!

A modified Facebook app for Android removes ‘ads, clutter, and crap’ – like Stories!

31st May 2018 1 By Sam Warrenger

An Android developer has spent years working on ‘patched’ versions of the official Facebook app for Android. Any Android phone can run this ad-free Facebook app simply by downloading and installing the .apk files, without any need for the phone to be rooted.

Known as ‘Facebook LC‘ or ‘Facebook with Less Clutter‘ the modified Facebook apps have had as many adverts and sponsored posts removed as possible. Hundreds of improvements have been made to make the apps run faster and less annoying, with the developer promising ” less ads, less clutter, less crap.”

Here’s some of our favourite modifications:

  • Removed stories bar from top of news feed
  • Removed marketplace & groups tabs
  • Removed all notices that nag you to update the apps
  • Hide ‘install Instagram’ and other recommended apps
  • Hide Group & Pages recommendations
  • Hide marketplace recommendations
  • Hide ads within ‘instant articles’
  • Hide ‘related articles’ and ‘people also shared’

That’s just to give you an idea of the sort of changes that have been made to improve the Facebook experience. There are far too many small improvements to list them all here.

The modified app removes Stories from the top of News Feed

Developer evilwombat said that whilst Facebook mods had been attempted before, they “hadn’t been able to find anything that focuses this closely on removing clutter and optimizing the interaction between user and content.

Modified or ‘hacked’ apps such as this often require the phone itself to be hacked or rooted, a complex process that makes a phone less secure. This is because they use root software known as the ‘Xposed Framework’ to make modifications to apps as they are running.

Instead, evilwombat made their changes to the Facebook app’s .apk installer file directly. Think of it as making changes to the actual code on an Xbox game disc, rather than hacking the software of the Xbox itself.

The developer commented that “the nice thing about a standalone APK is that non-rooted users can obviously benefit from it too.” Even with the technical knowledge, some phones just cannot be rooted. However, this modified Facebook app can be installed on just about any Android device.

The developer has spent over a year making these modifications and regularly updates the patched app. First, they use what’s known as a ‘decompiler‘ and a ‘disassembler‘ to take apart Facebook’s official application file, or .apk, then they use a ‘hex editor‘ to make the modifications to Facebook’s code.

Finally, a custom-designed script is used to ‘repackage’ the modified code back into an .apk file, which you can simply download below and install in seconds. No hacking or advanced knowledge required.

Make sure you uninstall the normal Facebook app from your device first! If you’ve never installed anything from anywhere but the official Google Play app store before, your phone will prompt you to allow installing apps from unknown sources.

Because all of the Facebook apps interact with each other securely, this modified app won’t play nicely with other Facebook apps such as Messenger or Pages Manager. However, this is easily solved, as evilwombat provides versions of these apps that include the secure key required for the modified Facebook app.

These .apk files are available for Messenger, Pages Manager, Ads Manager, Messenger Lite, and Workplace. They are identical to the official versions, but simply have the secure key included that allows them to work properly alongside the modified ‘Facebook LC’ app.

Downloads

Facebook LC – Facebook with Less Clutter
Latest beta version – facebook-lc-v12.3.apk
Latest stable version – facebook-lc-v11.1.apk

Messenger with Facebook LC Secure Key
messenger-v161-resigned.apk

Pages Manager with Facebook LC Secure Key
pages-v143-resigned.apk

Quick instructions

  1. Remove all Facebook apps from device (including Messenger, Pages Manager, etc)
  2. Download & install the Facebook LC apk from above
  3. Reinstall Messenger etc. using the apk files above with secure keys added
  4. Enjoy Facebook with “less ads, clutter, and crap!”

Further reading

A full list of modifications is available in the official XDA Developers thread, along with support and assistance.

For advanced users, evilwombat explains in the second post how to sign .apk files with their own secure keys. This allows advanced users to install the very latest Messenger, Messenger Lite, or Pages Manager apps alongside the modified Facebook application. 

Both the modified Facebook and connected apps will then be signed by the same secure key, allowing them to interact as expected.

However, this isn’t essential, as evilwombat regularly updates the version of Messenger available with a secure key matching the modified Facebook app in the XDA thread linked above.

Main image credit: Shop Catalog


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