Think you’re a Facebook expert? There are so many things you can do on the social networking site that you probably don’t know about everything.
Despite its issues, Facebook remains the principal digital public square of today. While politicians may like Twitter, and most young’ns might prefer the ephemeral Snapchat or photo-centric Instagram, Zuck & Co’s uber social network is still an extremely important virtual venue. And plans are afoot to merge the chat functionality of Instagram and WhatsApp into Messenger, so get ready for Facebook or nothing.
The last year-plus of scandals have yet to make much of an impact on Facebook’s bottom line. In the US and Canada, it had a small dip in the first quarter of 2018, but rebounded to its best ever Q3 in 2018, according to Statista. Monthly active users on the platform in the US/Canada are also still climbing, albeit only at around one million new users per quarter.
While Facebook’s business model has evolved to include its mobile incarnation and other associated apps, Facebook.com still has a faithful following. Chances are, you’re still using it, even if the many scandals—like Cambridge Analytica, Russian meddling in elections, getting hacked, and data sharing with big companies like Amazon and Microsoft—have you fuming.
Facebook—which is not synonymous with the internet, just like AOL wasn’t!— boasts one of the world’s most complex and multi-faceted websites. It rivals many standalone software apps with the sheer amount of personalization, tweaks, and tinkering available to visitors.
In fact, there are so many things you can do on Facebook.com that you probably don’t know about everything. We’re talking about all the official, baked-in, easily accessible functions just a few clicks away. As you’ll see, there are even some functions that appear to be leftovers from bygone eras that we’re not even sure Facebook still knows are there. Take a look and awaken your inner power user social super-star.
The Inbox You Didn’t Even Know You Had
If you’ve been a Facebook user for a while, then you probably have a folder full of unread messages that you didn’t even know you had: the “Message Requests” folder. This is where Facebook sends all the missives from people you’re not currently friends with. It could be filled with old high school flings reaching out… or a bunch of Nigerian spammers, who knows?! Only one way to find out!
To review these messages, click the Messenger icon () at the top of your home screen. By default, you’ll find yourself in the “Recent” tab of your inbox. Directly to the right, you’ll find the “Message Requests” tab. After you click this, you may see a link that says “See filtered requests.” Click that and then you’ll see all sorts of messages from strangers on the internet.
See Who’s Snooping In Your Account
Want to know if someone is logged into your Facebook account without your permission? First, go to your Settings page. Under the Security and Login folder, you’ll see “Where You’re Logged In.” Here you will find all your active Facebook log-ins from desktop or mobile devices. It will (usually) provide data on the location, browser, and device. If something seems fishy, you have the ability to log out from individual devices (click the menu > Log Out) or all devices at once (scroll down and click “Log out All Sessions.”) This comes in handy if you log in to a friend’s computer or on some public laptop, but forget to log out.
Restrict Select Friends from Seeing Posts
If you mark a post on Facebook as Public, then everyone can see it, and everyone can share it. That’s how being “Public” works. However, if you make most of your posts so only your friends can see it, there’s a quick way to make a list of people who, while they’ll still be your Facebook friends, won’t see it!
Go to the page of the friend you want to restrict. Click the Friends drop-down menu and select Add to Another List. They may already be on a bunch. Scroll to the bottom of the menu and you’ll see Restricted. You’ll get a warning that says that friend no longer will see what you post unless it’s Public.
Save Posts for Later
Did you ever want to read a link that a friend shared on Facebook, but didn’t have the time at that particular moment? Then, when you finally do have a moment, you either forgot about it, or it has been buried under so much other junk that it’s not even worth searching? We’ve all been there. That’s why you should get acquainted with Facebook’s “Save for Later” function.
If there’s anything you want to save for later, click the ellipsis menu () in the top-right of any post. Then click the Save Post/Link/Video from the pull-down; the same method works on mobile versions of Facebook. This will send the link to your Saved folder.
“Where’s your Saved folder,” you ask? You actually won’t see it until you save something for the first time. Then a little purple “Saved” ribbon appears in your left-hand favorites bar (you may have to click the “See More…” link to see Saved); click the hamburger menu () on mobile. Saved Posts don’t expire but might disappear if the original poster deletes it.
Download a Copy of All Your Facebooking
Want your own personal copy of everything you’ve ever shared on Facebook? I’m talking, ev-er-y-thing: Every post, every image, every video, every message, and chat conversation (not to mention all the settings you probably don’t even think about)? You can do that! Go to Settings > Your Facebook Information and click “Download Your Information.” Follow the directions from there.
This feature lets you take a trip down memory lane, or just save your info should you ever decide to delete your Facebook account. And of course, it reveals exactly what Facebook has saved about you. You might be surprised.
Find All the Photos Liked by…Anyone
Go to Facebook and start typing “photos liked by” in the search box at the top. You’ll see the autocomplete fill in a lot of suggestions including “me,” “my husband,” “my girlfriend,” “my friends,” etc. Try any combo and you’ll get results based on your relationship status, yourself, and who gave a thumbs up to what images. You can take it further though—type in “photos liked by” followed by your friends names, or even celebrities. Add something like “from 2018” or “this month” or “last week” or the like to limit the time frame of the pics. You can even add photos “of [name]” to the query to narrow things further.
Choose a ‘Legacy Contact’ for After You Croak
Add Some Extra Security
It’s a good idea to throw in some additional layers of security on your Facebook account. No, don’t worry that someone will break into your account and start “liking” BuzzFeed articles like crazy. But do be concerned that someone could get in and use the information they find to steal your identity and/or send malware-laden links to friends.
Here are three smart things you can do to protect yourself, which you’ll find under Settings > Security and Login:
1) Enable Two-Factor Authentication. It’s a good idea to implement 2FA on all your accounts. That means if someone wants to access your account on a new device, they’ll also need access to your phone.
2) Get alerts about unrecognized logins. If somebody logs in to your account from an unrecognized device or browser, Facebook will let you know.
3) Designate 3-5 trusted contacts if you get locked out. Trusted Contacts are Facebook friends who can securely help you regain access to your account if you forget your password or lose your mobile device—OR a nefarious person breaks in and decides to lock YOU out. Remember, you can always change your trusted contacts later, if you no longer trust them.
Edit Your Ad Preferences
Do you hate-follow any celebrities or personalities on Facebook? A while back, I gave former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin a follow. I was just curious more than anything. But then I noticed that the ads on Facebook feed began to… change. Let’s just say, I started getting ads for things I really wasn’t all that interested in.
Facebook’s business is built around providing marketers with detailed information on its users’ interests, which Facebook’s algorithms insinuate based on—among other things—celebrities and personalities they’ve actively followed. However, if you “like” something on Facebook that’s a little out of your usual media diet, you also have the ability to keep your ad experience in check.
To curate your ads, go to Settings > Ads > Your Interests. You can remove an interest simply by hitting the on the upper-right of each interest. Under the “Advertisers” tab, you’ll see all the advertisers whose ads you’ve clicked on and/or were provided your information; remove anyone you don’t like in here with high prejudice. Under the “whose website or app you’ve used” and “whom you’ve visited” sub-tabs, you can choose to stop seeing ads from a particular advertiser altogether. Can you remove all of them at once? No. You can’t. That would be far too convenient.
Block Facebook Mobile Browser Tracking
You can’t completely opt out of tracking on Facebook, but you can take steps to web surf in without Facebook eavesdropping. Opt out via a special third-party site from the Digital Advertising Alliance. (Disable AdBlocker Plus or other similar software you may be running before you visit that link.) Follow the directions, and make sure to click the box next to Facebook and you can go about your internet business without third-party advertisers getting all up in your bizness.
Curate Your News Feed
Your News Feed is your home on Facebook. As such, try your best to keep it clean, orderly, and free of distractions. You don’t want to be inundated with posts from that one brand or friend you follow who just posts All. The. Time.
One of the most direct ways to do this is by giving more voice to the things you want to see, while removing the stuff you don’t want. The quickest way to access this feature is by clicking the ellipsis menu () next to “News Feed” at the top of the left rail and selecting “Edit Preferences” from the drop-down menu. In the pop-up screen, click “Prioritize who to see first,” and choose the people, Pages, and brands you want to see more or less of in the future.
You can also click “Unfollow people to hide their posts” to mute annoying posters (they won’t know they’ve been muted). You’ll still be “friends” but you won’t see their posts on your News Feed unless you re-follow them down the line. (Here’s more on that.)
You’ll also find options here to reconnect with people you previously unfollowed (as if), and to discover Pages you might like.
See All The Friends You Requested, Ever
What about all the people you asked to be your friend who ignored or deleted your request? Facebook keeps track of that. At the top of the Facebook page click the Friend Requests icon (two people in silhouette). You’ll see a list of suggested “People You May Know.” At the bottom, click the “See All” link. On the next page, under New Friend Requests (assuming you don’t have any) click “View Sent Requests.” Then you get a list of the people who hate you. Or maybe they just don’t check Facebook that much. Probably both.
Turn Off Autoplay Videos
Do you hate it when a video starts without you clicking play? Kill that “feature.” Go to Settings > Videos and set Auto-Play Videos to Off. Stat. You won’t regret it. If you do it on the desktop, it also turns off auto-play on your mobile devices, and vice versa.
You can also turn on HD-video preference here, plus activate closed captions and adjust how they’ll look.
Embed Public Content
Like other social media sites or YouTube videos, Facebook allows you to embed publicly available content on your own personal webpage. Just click the () menu in the top-right of the post and click “Embed” to capture the code. Click Advanced Settings to change the pixel width of the post to suit your site, see a preview, and access lots of developer settings.
Send Money Through Facebook
There are lots of services that will allow you to transfer money from your computer or mobile device, like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and yes even Facebook (as long as the sender and recipient both have a valid debit card). In addition (and of greater interest to Facebook), these payments allow users to purchase products and make in-game purchases on the social network.
While this feature is largely tied to Facebook Messenger, you can use it on regular Facebook as well. To set it up, go to Settings > Payments > Account Settings to enter a debit or credit card. Once accepted, send (or request) funds to/from another user via Messenger.
To use this feature on Facebook.com, open a pop-over conversation with one of your contacts via the Messenger icons. Click the dollar sign ($) in a circle at the bottom of the chat window to send/request funds. Cha-ching!
Transfer Files Over Facebook Messenger
If you open a Facebook Messenger window—the small one on Facebook.com—there’s a little paper clip icon () along the bottom. This allows you to Add Files—it uploads and sends a file directly from your computer. The receiver can just click on the included link and download from there. Of course, never download anything from someone you don’t know. (On Messenger.com, the icon is similar to this: . Hover over it to see the Add Files designation.)
Upload ‘360’ Pics and Vids
You’ve probably seen the occasional immersive “360” degree photos (and some videos) popping up in your Facebook feed. On the desktop version, viewers can explore a field of vision in all directions using their mouse or keyboard. On mobile, users can pivot their device to look all around. It’s not just for specialists—you have the opportunity to upload your own 360-degree images and video. Use your smartphone to capture a panorama picture or “photosphere” and upload it to Facebook—the social network does the rest to make it easily visible to your friends.
Immersive videos are a bit more complicated and need some of that aforementioned high-end hardware, but if you happen to have some, here’s how to get started.
Make a Fundraiser
Want to help someone (perhaps even yourself) financially? Use the power of the crowd. On the web, click the Fundraiser icon (a little gold coin with a heart in the middle) in the left-hand Explore rail (or via the menu on the mobile apps). You can crowdsource funds via donations, either for yourself or on behalf of another person or organization. A lot of people use this feature to do a birthday fundraiser for charity.
It’s all pretty easy to set up, BUT there are some things to know. Fundraising campaigns have to be approved by Facebook before they go live. In order to receive funds, users will have to link a checking account with Facebook. Also, since these campaigns are considered “personal fundraisers,” any donations are typically NOT tax-deductible. Most importantly, Facebook implements a fee for any donations for “operations and processing.”
Facebook Is a Virtual Arcade