CRISPR for Twitter

There’s a Chrome extension that lets you install themes” to alter the appearance of specific websites. I hacked together one such theme that behaves like CRISPR for Twitter: it lets you precisely snip out certain things, while leaving the rest to function normally.

I snipped out a lot. Here’s what Twitter looks like for me now:

As you can see, it’s barely a social network anymore; it’s more like a harmless linkblog. (Think crossed with

If you want to do likewise:

  1. Install the Stylus extension
  2. Install the Tame Twitter theme
  3. {optional} Manually edit the theme’s CSS to restore or kill specific elements of per your own preferences, if you don’t like exactly how I arranged it 👈{this is the CRISPR-y part}

NOTE: Step 3 is not hard. I don’t even know CSS, and I managed it. I added some comments in the code (marked with /*) to help label which lines will kill specific features on Twitter.


.moments /* kills Moments tab */

If you want to put Moments back in, you just delete those lines. Same for the other features.

Recommended: install the Hide Counts theme too. It removes all those soul-destroying metrics from the Twitter interface (e.g., follower counts, how many RTs or Likes a post got, &c.).

Gory details

Here’s everything I CRISPR’d out of Twitter, and why:

How I made this thing

I can’t code. I was already using an existing Stylus theme called Write-only Twitter” (which deletes even more of Twitter than what I’ve described above), and noticed that its CSS was editable. The code fit on less than one page, so I decided it might not be too scary to modify. (And by modify,” I mean remove random lines and then refresh to see what happens”.) Doing that gave me an extremely basic intuition about how the CSS worked.

Then I did a view source” on and started hunting semi-blindly through that code for stuff to plug into the Stylus theme (read: more trial-and-error / browser refreshing). I did that until I’d identified all the terrible parts of that I could make disappear without breaking the website.

Then I labeled what I found in the CSS so that you might have a slightly easier time nipping and tucking it than I did.

Why I made this thing

After reading Tristan Harris’s indictments of social media last year, I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts and never looked back. Twitter, though, I can’t seem to shake. I deleted my account, but then chickened out and reactivated it before the 30-day grace period expired. I read a friend’s case against retweets and almost quit, again. Finally, I thought: instead of all this going back and forth, what if I could just force Twitter into a form that I don’t hate?

So, I did.