Scroll less, read more with this browser extension

by Chun Wang

FeedScanner is a Chrome extension that automatically scrolls down your Facebook news feed while scanning it. As it scans through the feed, the extension filters out all the irrelevant ads and suggested posts by Facebook that contaminate your feed. The content you would care about - posts from friends, family and your trusted news sources - are transferred to a much cleaner interface which necessitates more focused reading.

FeedScanner eliminates all the distracting aspects of the Internet - multimedia, interactivity, hyperlinking, searchability, recommendations, and infinite scrolling, all of which are put out there by tech companies for the sake of “user friendliness” and “user engagement”. In reality, however, all these irrelevant features are competing for our attention and constantly disrupting us from paying sustained attention to what really matters.

The reading interface that accompanies FeedScanner liberates users from the outward train of passing stimuli in order to engage their attention more deeply with an inward flow of words, emotions, and ideas, an ability that many Internet users have been gradually losing due to long-time training of our brains to do more “efficient” reading on the Internet [1].


Each time I land on my Facebook homepage, I immediately feel a low-level panic induced by a false sense of necessity to go through the news feed and a thousands things out there screaming for my attention. I keep scrolling down, quite mindlessly most of the time since my eyes can’t really focus on anything. Five minutes later, I decide to use some willpower to close the browser tab due to a burnout. It isn’t a rewarding experience, however, I can’t help but keep repeating the process every day. Perhaps just as the author of The Shallows puts it, “My brain wasn’t just drifting. It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed it”. On the Internet, I read a lot, but not really, anything.

What I gained from using FeedScanner was a much more serene flow of information. Its quiet, linear way of presenting the information was closer to an experience that I enjoyed since a child – reading a real book. This helped me engage more with the train of inward thoughts (which didn’t even exist without using FeedScanner) while reading the content that emerge on the pages. This forced me to focus my attention on what my friends said. This liberated me from the perpetual low-level pressure to separate attention-worthy news from unsolicited posts. This calmed me down.

Gallery installation instructions

Installation view

News Feed reading interface

Ads Feed reading interface

How Users Read on the Web (Nielsen Norman Group)