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The Recommender

You Can't Shut Down The Internet, But A New Filter Takes Donald Trump Off Of It

The Chrome extension, its creator says, will "make America great again."

[Photo: Flickr user Jamelle Bouie]

Love your Internet but feel hijacked by all the Donald Trump news? There’s an app for that.

Folks who want to de-Trump their online experience can now do so thanks to Trump Filter, a new Chrome Extension that aims to remove most mentions of the GOP presidential candidate from users’ Internet.

The filter’s creator, Rob Spectre, even turned Trump’s catchphrase around on him by advertising that the extension will "Make America great again."

Trump Filter was designed, according to its website, to search web pages for references to the billionaire, and, when found, make them disappear. Users can choose from "three adjustable levels of severity."

It’s not clear if the filter can remove references to Trump from users’ social media feeds, though one would imagine that it does if those feeds are viewed on the web, rather than through dedicated desktop apps.

A quick Fast Company test of the filter revealed that it does seem to remove most, if not all, Trump references, including entire sections of news sites. For example, clicking through to The New York Times Politics page resulted in no content at all appearing, even stories with no Trump mentions. Even trying to edit this article became impossible because it mentioned Trump.

Spectre, who describes himself on his website as a Brooklyn-based "punk rock" technologist, wrote on his website that no one put him up to creating Trump Filter, not "the Republican or Democratic Parties, the Obama Administration, my mother or any other possible sphere of influence."

Asked by Fast Company why he created the Trump Filter, Spectre said by email that it "came about in response to a growing swell of demand I saw on the Internet to curb the seemingly incessant coverage of this substanceless campaign. Donald Trump is America's reality TV candidate, missing only the most important attribute of that format — the ability to turn him off."

On the filter's Product Hunt page, commenter Jacob Rogelberg argued that "No matter who you agree with, it's ALWAYS good to hear both sides. You're not better off by being ignorant."

Spectre thinks the filter achieves that goal by leveling the playing field in the presidential race.

"I strongly agree with Jacob's suggestion that an informed citizenry involves hearing many viewpoints, especially those that make them deeply uncomfortable," Spectre told Fast Company. "My hope is this instrument makes that more likely for the 2016 presidential election. Even at this early stage, there is disturbing data around media research suggesting Trump commands 46% of the headlines covering the Republican primary. [Several mainstream news stories suggest] this campaign's celebrity is trumping his opponents' spend in a manner unprecedented in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. With that kind of coverage dominance, it is difficult to even find other ideas in this election."

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