How to avoid spoilers on Facebook and Twitter

Because some friends forget that the rest of us can't always watch at launch.

Credit: Macall B. Polay / courtesy of HBO

Avoiding spoilers for popular shows and movies—like Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame—on social media is downright hard. (Especially on Twitter, where reaction tweets currently fly fast and furious on Sunday nights.)

You can take steps, however, to keep yourself in the dark. On Facebook, it’s as simple as installing a desktop browser extension, while on Twitter, you can mute keywords you don’t want to see in your timeline. While these methods aren’t 100 percent bulletproof, they should filter out the majority of spoilers.

Here’s how to do it.

How to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers on Facebook

This method involves adding the Social Fixer extension to your browser, which allows you to filter out spoiler-ridden posts based on keywords or phrases.

Social Fixer only works when viewing Facebook in a desktop browser, though you can also install it on the Android version of Firefox because that particular mobile browser supports desktop extensions. Unfortunately, there’s no help for the Facebook mobile app.

Supported browsers are Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. You can make it work in other programs like Edge if you already use the Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey extension.

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The Social Fixer extension has an wide range of features, with filters only just one small slice of the pie.

To install Social Fixer, head to the download page for your browser’s version of the extension, then click on the Add to button. Read through the app permissions and then grant them to proceed. (If you’re not comfortable with the requested permissions, you can cancel the install, but you won’t be able to use the extension.)

Next, open Facebook in a browser tab. The options window for Social Fixer should appear. If you don’t see it, locate the newly added wrench icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Click it and choose Social Fixer options.

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You can choose between Social Fixer’s pre-existing filter options or create your own.

In the Filters tab, choose the relevant filters for the spoilers you want to avoid. (For Game of Thrones, you can even choose between hiding relevant posts for just Sunday night or all together.) You also have the option to edit these pre-existing filters or set up your own custom filters, in case your friends have ways of referring to a series or movie that could escape Social Fixer’s reach.

For Game of Thrones specifically, we recommend creating an additional filter to screen for “GoT” as a keyword.

If you don’t want to miss out on these posts completely, you can check a box for Show a note where the post would have been while editing a filter. That leaves you the option to go back and see what your friends have been saying.

socialfixer3 PCWorld

Check this box if you want to be aware of the posts your friends have made while still avoiding their content.

That’s all there is to it. If you find the filter too restrictive, you can always go back and edit.

Note: Social Fixer offers quite a bit of control over Facebook—it’s worth digging into if you find certain parts of the interface aggravating. For example, you can use this extension to force Facebook to always show the “Most recent” view of your newsfeed, require CTRL+Enter to submit comments, show timestamps in an absolute day/time format, monitor who unfriends you, and more.

How to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers on Twitter

Screening out spoilers on Twitter is even easier than on Facebook. And unlike Facebook, you can dodge unwanted information with equal effectiveness on desktop and mobile, because it’s done through Twitter’s native Muted words feature. The only drawback is that you must create separate entries for every individual keyword or phrase you want to blot from your timeline.

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Twitter’s Muted words feature allows you to block tweets containing keywords and phrases you don’t want to see.

The process is virtually identical across all platforms and major operating systems. Start by clicking your avatar image, then select Settings and privacy. Under Privacy and safety, choose Muted words in desktop browsers and on Android or Muted > Muted words on iOS, then begin adding keywords or phrases you want to keep from seeing, like “Game of Thrones” and “GoT.”

twittermute2 PCWorld

To mute every single word or phrase you don’t wish to see, you’ll have to create a separate entry for each.

Again, remember you’ll have to repeat this process for every keyword or phrase, so if you want to block “Arya,” “Jon Snow,” “GoT,” and “Game of Thrones,” that’s four separate entries.

You won’t, however, need to create endless iterations of each word or phrase, because Twitter ignores capitalization and will apply the filter to both the word and its hashtag form. You can also include punctuation in your muted-word entries.

You can further tailor your filter by time period and whether you want it to apply to your notifications. Muted words default to a time period of forever, but you can also choose a shorter period of 30 days, 7 days, or even just 24 hours. You also have the option to block notifications containing the forbidden words from everyone or just people you don’t follow. After you make your selections and click the Add button, you’re all set.

One note: Using this feature won’t protect you from image-based spoilers. The closest you’ll get to avoiding those is to head to Settings and privacy > Privacy and safety, then untick the box for Display media that may display sensitive content. It works only if Twitter deems the image as risque, though. If you think you could be trolled, you may just want to avoid Twitter altogether until you’ve watched the latest and greatest.

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Alaina Yee

PC World (US online)
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