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Facebook "Like" banner and firewall blocking -- backed out Answered

UPDATE 5/4/2010: It looks like the new banner has been backed out. The original "orange box" with JavaScript drivers to FB, Twitter, etc. is back in place.

UPDATE:  Kiteman has reported that the new Facebook "Like" banner has an even worse effect for some users.  With some filtering software, the transitive link through I'bles to Facebook causes the entire Instructables site itself to be blocked out (i.e., the filter is preventing pass-through access), and may also shut down the browser completely (the way China was blocking Google).

That means any of our users who, at school or at work, are behind that style of filter are completely blocked from accessing Instructables, and have no way of letting us know about this.  In my opinion, that is too high a price to pay for the supposed benefit of cross-linking to a social network.

(Note: I'm putting this in Help:Bugs because I consider it a broken or inappropriate result of a newly deployed feature.)


Shortly after I posted my Feedback topic about the new Like button, user LoneWolf commented that he did not see what I was talking about.  All he got was a large blue banner saying ACCESS DENIED!  RavingMadStudios figured out that this is because he's viewing Instructables from behind a firewall where Facebook (and presumably other sites) are blocked.

Now, I am a little perturbed that you guys are forcing my computer access stuff from Facebook, which opens me up to all the usual nasty harvesting that I have tried to avoid by never ever using Facebook. But that's not the point of this posting.

I think the giant ACCESS DENIED! banner detracts from the site's image, and can also be misleading to users. If someone sees that on an I'ble, does it mean that they aren't allowed to look at any of the Steps? They're not allowed to print it out? What's going on here?

Do you think your new programmer might be able to cook up a little bit of JavaScript, to run on the client side, which could tell whether Facebook is accessible or not? If it is not, the script would simply put nothing where the Like button is now. If it is accessible, then business as usual.


It appears that this new feature has been backed out, and the old "orange box" (with Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and the flagging links) is back in place.


The UK schools is not an issue regarding checking content for appropriateness.  There is software to do that, but it checks on a page-by-page basis.

Certainly in my county (Suffolk), the whole counyty's school access to the net is through a single point.

At that point, there is a list of websites, including (but not limited to) Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, which, if their urls are detected in a page (sometimes just as a hyperlink), the browser (IE) is closed down automatically.

There is no work-around possible (such as proxies etc), because at some point you will see the page that has the "unwelcome" url and get shut down.

Can any other UK users please check the status of instructables on their school networks and report back here?

Translator?  Or is the filter multilingual?

I just clicked the "like" button, and it pops up a log-in box.  I assume that if you do not log in, your data is safe?

The banner will also not be a product of this site (or FB), but rather something added by the filters through which LoneWolf is looking.  At my own school, such blocks appear over adverts etc deemed "inappropriate" by the county's filters.  The are orange or red, depending on the level of inappropriateness detected (somehow).

My point is, the only way (I think) that ibles can prevent that notice appearing on LoneWolf's screen would be to remove the button altogether.

People viewing the web through such a filter will be used to seeing the blocks appearing on other sites, so should not find them a distraction here.

I think.

I will test the appearance of the buttons at school tomorrow.

I would test the appearance of the buttons at school, but they just recently blocked ibles.  When I asked why, they cited one of Killerjackalope's ibles as the reason.

Oh well.

lol DJ this happens to me all the time... But usually just to me... Which 'ible? 

Actually kind of disgraceful - it's better than most schools saying you will get pregnant, go on fire and die if you think of sex...

Ah tech blocked me from my inbox on el facebook -  I am a bit uncomfy with the monstrous lack of privacy involved there...

I just clicked the "like" button, and it pops up a log-in box.  I assume that if you do not log in, your data is safe?

Probably, but I don't know that for sure. And I don't like things I don't know about :-)

The banner will also not be a product of this site (or FB), but rather something added by the filters through which LoneWolf is looking.

True! My thought was that if the Facebook site isn't accessible, that's something that should be detectable from the client side (e.g., with something like a single ping, or more sophisticated). JS might even have a built-in function for the purpose. Then you could have the conditional case "if (Facebook-blocked) { don't put the button up altogether; } else { put the button up; }".

Ah.  Now, that's codemonkey stuff.  I don't speak codemonkey, I have friends who speak it for me.

(LoneWolf has posted on the other thread that he is looking through a school filter.)

Yep.  As noted in my opening paragraph, RMS deduced that, and LoneWolf confirmed.

I've updated the topic text above.  Apparently this banner can cause even more severe blocking with some kinds of school filter software.  The whole I'bles site can end up blocked, and the user's browser can be shut down.

.  Oops! Omit the leading less-than character at the beginning of that search string.

Argh! I have my Firefox to ask me when it wants to put a cookie on, and it put a facebook one on when I came here! I thought this was Instructables!

Seems to assume that most users have Facebook accounts - Roystoned.


Hear, hear.  Something we used to call "feeping creaturism."

I don't much care for the large banner at all; I think it's distracting. But I understand that there are a huge number of current and potential members that use Facebook as their primary method of sharing information with friends, so I understand why it's there.

That said, I get a chunk of a SmartFilter "Access Denied" screen when I go to Instructables from my school.

Tee hee..."Facebook" still hasn't been added to my FF dictionary. *proud*

I don't actually mind the banner.  The pale blue and small (non-accessible!) font makes it less imposing than it could be.  I think the "ACCESS DENIED" is a bit much, but that is not something I'bles can touch, except possibly through a client-side script as I described.