Auto sign-out from social media to reduce distraction

A couple of years ago I noticed that social media started taking too much attention from me than they deserve. I didn’t spend too much time overall, just several times per day I checked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The most obvious solution was to use a website blocker. But it didn’t work out for me since these blockers were browser extension and it was enough to disable that extension to continue browsing my Facebook feed.

Then I incorporated another strategy: you can use social media how often you want but every time you should sign out. So it wasn’t a quick dopamine hit anymore: each time I wanted to browse Facebook I’ve to sign in (of course, no auto-fill was enabled). So it led to a routine of checking all social media just once per day, every morning. It worked well for over a year, but then I got that impression that I’m controlling the situation now and could continue checking them once a day without signing out every time. In fact, I was not, and very quickly I get to the initial position of checking them several times per day.

Then I decided to automate the sign-out. Although it looked like an obvious solution, I’ve found no app nor browser extension for that. But since auto sign-out could be also done by removing cookies, I’ve looked in that type of extensions and found Cookie Auto-Delete extension (available for Google Chrome and Firefox).

The only downside was that it deleted all cookies except for white-listed ones. My use-case would require keeping all cookies except black-listed ones instead, and this wasn’t supported. Luckily, this extension has been open-sourced and Kenneth, one of its authors, was ready to accept my pull request with needed changes.

So now you could white-list all websites except for a few ones. Once you install it go to the “List of Expressions” tab and add a new whitelist expression:

White list all websites except Facebook, Twitter, Reddit

After that also enable “Enable Automatic Cleaning? Delay Before Cleaning: 15” in the “Cookie Settings” tab. So after you close a tab with Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit their cookies would be automatically removed after 15 seconds. Thus automatically signing you out.

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My name is Kirill Maltsev. I blog about building web products, coding, and other stuff.
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