How to change politicians' names on any website (and your Twitter feed)

It's the digital equivalent of drawing private parts on your newspaper, and it's just as funny

I've seen the guy on the right somewhere before. Oh, I know this. The Bill? Was he in The Bill?...

...or that thing with Martin Clunes? Oh! Wait! It was that JK Rowling thing that was like Broadchurch! What was that called?

Like a satirical umbrella against the deluge of political posturing currently swamping your internet, this simple, home-baked Chrome extension automagically replaces politicians' names on any website. The text ‘Ed Miliband’ becomes ‘Sandwich Guy’, ‘David Cameron’ becomes ‘Lord Snooty’, and 'Nigel Farage' is 'Mister Toad', plus a couple of other mild satirical swipes.

What's more, you can easily edit it to rewrite any name (or any other text) as you please.

It's an absolute piece of cake to install and just as simple to modify with your own hilarious words. Let the juvenile humour commence! 

Install, giggle, repeat

Here's how to use it: this only works in the Chrome browser, so install and open that if you haven't already. Download the two files from this Dropbox folder (they’re tiny, it should take seconds) by clicking the big blue Download button. They'll appear in your Downloads as a .zip, so unzip the 'Mr Toad' folder to your desktop. Now go to ‘Window’ in the top menu in Chrome, and pick ‘Extensions’.

In Extensions, tick the box that says ‘Developer mode’. Now click ‘Load unpacked extension’. In the selection box that appears, select the Mr Toad folder on your desktop (just the folder), and hit return.

That’s it! head to your favourite mainstream news site, and you should see it working straight away. When the hilarity passes, if indeed it ever does, just disable or delete the extension back in the Extensions tab.

why and how

Stop clicking that play button, it's just a screenshot

We're on a toad to nowhere

Our money's on the privately educated mid-40s white bloke in a tie

Don't worry, this isn't a coding lesson. It's just a peek under the hood of your web browser.

Mr Toad is an edited version of an extension called Cloud to Butt, by Steven Frank. Cloud to Butt replaces the phrase ‘the cloud’ to the phrase ‘my butt’, with results that are nothing short of wonderful. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the majesty of Cloud to Butt: 

'You can print photos straight from my butt.'

Lovely stuff.

Steven has made Cloud to Butt available on GitHub, so you can download it and muck about with it from there, but let's start by editing the Mr Toad files on your desktop. This is very simple and easy to do. In Windows you can do this in Notepad; I used TextMate on Mac, which is free and works great for this.

You downloaded two files for the Mr Toad extension, so open them both with a text editor and have a look. The manifest file ('manifest.json', on the left hand side of the picture below) tells Chrome what to look for and how to use what it finds. In it, you can change the name of the extension and edit its description by replacing the "name" or the "description".

The file on the right of the picture, 'content_script.js', does the work.

edit the internet

It looks like the Matrix, but it's really very easy to edit

All you have to do is go into the lines in the content_script file that replace text, and swap out the terms.

Where I've put 'Nigel Farage' (on line 36), try swapping in 'Grant Shapps' and where (on the same line) it says 'Mister Toad', swap in 'Michael Green'.

Now head back to the Extensions tab and refresh the extension by clicking the little Reload button next to it.

Now head to Grant Shapps' Wikipedia page. 

Now Grant/Michael doesn't need to edit his own Wikipedia page any more - you've done it for him. Perhaps this 'coding' business can genuinely serve a purpose, after all.

Here's a few more to try: 

Android fanboys: replace 'iPhone' with 'Shiny Expensive Bean'.

Football nerds: replace 'Sepp Blatter' with 'Sack of Money'.

And so on. Have a lovely time defacing the internet, tweet us your best bits of rewritten web, and don't forget to vote.  

Liked that? Read this...