How To Fix Facebook's Sidebar Chat: Install This Now!

Facebook users who hate the new sidebar chat can relax: Help is on the way, thanks to Tal Ater, founder of Green Any Site.

Ater, who discovered evidence that Facebook was testing a video chat feature last November by examining the social network’s code, was back at it this week, coming up with easy fix that involves changing one line of code, after which the sidebar chat will only display friends who are online, rather than selecting random contacts.

More details on the coding fix are available on Ater’s Facebook Fixes site, and the fix is available for download as either a browser add-on or in code form.

Ater described the process via email:

A couple of nights ago, while digging through Facebook’s new chat code (it’s a hobby of mine), I found hidden in one of their JavaScript functions, a very quick and easy fix for the chat problem everyone is complaining about.

It turns out, all it takes is changing one line of code, and Facebook chat no longer chooses random friends to show you in the chat panel, but instead only shows the friends who are currently online. No more letting Facebook decide for us who we want to talk to.

I just published the code as open source on GitHub, so that everyone can use it.

And for the less geeky crowd, I even created a little executable that you can download and run to fix the Facebook chat once and for all (it runs the code for you automatically when you visit Facebook).

Readers who are unhappy with Facebook’s new sidebar chat: Will you try Ater’s solution? Or if you already have, how’s it working for you?

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