That's Xibit, the rapper, actor, and host of the MTV show Pimp My Ride. That image of him has become an Internet "meme" (pronounced "meem"), or photograph in which anyone can write their own caption following a simple theme.
When Xibit first learned he had become a widespread meme, he wasn't pleased. He felt it made fun of him. Later, he realized it was all in good fun, and gave the meme his nod of approval. You can read about the Xibit "Yo Dawg" meme and view his reactions here.
What Is the Facebook News Ticker?
The joke in the Xibit meme above refers to the "news ticker" in the upper-right corner of the Facebook news feed that appears every time you sign in to Facebook through a computer Web browser. (It doesn't appear in the mobile versions of Facebook.)
The ticker scrolls through every status update, photo, video, game update, comment, like, song, and other activity that your friends post on Facebook -- in real time.
How the Facebook News Ticker Compromises Your Privacy
The Facebook news ticker never stops scrolling, and it can't be removed through Facebook's settings. Facebook pretends that the ticker does not affect your privacy, but it does.
By default, your friends -- and your friends' friends -- by viewing the news ticker -- can see everything you post, comment on, or "like" while you are signed in to Facebook.
And you can see everything they do, too.
Not only that, but not everyone realizes that all of their Facebook activities are being broadcast for their friends, family, and employers to see. It doesn't take a genius to realize why this is a massive breach of privacy.
In my opinion, it's a privacy emergency. But Facebook is the gorilla, and the gorilla can do what it wants. So we have to figure out a way to work around it, not defeat it, at least for the time being.
How to Stop Your Facebook Activities From Being Published on the Ticker
The only official way to reliably stop all of your own activities from appearing in the Facebook news ticker for your friends to see -- and likely for your friends' friends to see -- is to set your default privacy to absolute secrecy.
That is, you must set your Facebook privacy settings to be viewable by only you. And that, of course, would completely defeat the purpose of using Facebook.
This article is not about securing your own Facebook ticker privacy. For that, see this article at NakedSecurity. Just know that the method described there only works if every one of your Facebook friends cooperates.
Currently, you simply have almost no realistic control over your Facebook news ticker privacy.
Why You Would Want to Remove the Facebook News Ticker from Your View
This article is about removing the Facebook news ticker from your own view. I am going to show you how to remove that constant distraction, that fire hose of updates scrolling past you at breakneck speed. This will let you focus on the news feed in the main window, and rescue you from too much information.
After all, some things are none of your darn business, right?
How to Remove the Facebook News Ticker
If you need help with any part of the following guide, just drop a comment on this post or ask your question in the comment form in the right sidebar of this blog.
1. Get the Firefox or Google Chrome browser. It's free. Go to firefox.com or google.com/chrome. Install the browser to your computer. If you don't know how to do this, just follow the instructions Firefox or Chrome provides.
2. Install the Adblock Plus add-on or extension by visiting adblockplus.org and clicking the "Install" button. Restart your browser if asked to do so.
3. Add a New Filter. Don't worry. It's easy.
- Open your Adblock Plus preferences and click the "Add filter..." button.
- Paste facebook.com###pagelet_rhc
_ticker in the "New filter" field, then click "OK."
- Open your Adblock Plus options and click the "Add your own filters" tab.
- Paste facebook.com###pagelet_rhc
_ticker in the top empty field.
The news ticker should now be gone, and you can finally Facebook without having to Facebook in the upper-right while you Facebook.