If only you realize the time spent on not utilizing all of Facebook features, you will marvel at the time wasted not exploring the full use of this social media. Below are some of the features you probably don’t know or you don’t use due to lack of knowledge of its existence.
- The Inbox You Didn’t Even Know You Had:
If you’ve been a Facebook user for a while, this part of Facebook features enables you to realize that you 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 messages from people you’re not currently friends with. It could be filled with old high school pals reaching out or a bunch of spammers, who knows?! Only one way to find out!
To review these messages, click the “messages” icon at the top of your home screen (a chat icon with the Messenger lightning icon in the middle). 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. Have fun with that!
- See Who’s Snooping In into Your Account:
This part of Facebook features help you 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 a 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.
- 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 for? We’ve all been there. That’s why you should get acquainted with “Save for Later” Facebook features.
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 features. This will send the link to your Saved folder. “Where’s your Saved folder,” you ask? Good question! You actually won’t see it until you save something for the first time. Then a little red “Saved” ribbon appears in your left-hand favorites bar. Click that to find all your favorite stored stories. Saved Posts don’t expire but might disappear if the original poster deletes it.
- Download a Copy of All Your Face-booking
Want your own personal copy of everything you’ve ever shared on Facebook? I’m talking; 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 > General and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” at the bottom. Follow the directions from there.
This Facebook 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 friend’s names, or even celebrities. Add something like “from 2018” or “this month” or “last week” or something like that 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:
Your legacy contact can write a pinned post for your profile, respond to new friend requests (e.g. friends or family who weren’t on Facebook at the time of your demise), or update your profile and cover photo. They can even download your Facebook data, minus any messages you sent/received. You can also just opt to have your account deleted after you die. Facebook will send an annual reminder to check your legacy contact unless you turn that option off.
Go Settings > General > Manage Account > Edit. Under the Legacy Contact tab, choose one of your Facebook friends to handle your digital affairs. If you’re a legacy contact for someone who’s passed away, use this form to tell Facebook about the person and ask to get it memorialized.
- 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 you need to 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 a former politician 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 delete an interest simply by hitting the X for Remove on the right of each interest. Under the “Advertisers, you’ve interacted with” 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 it here with high prejudice.
Under the “whose website or app you’ve used” and “whom you’ve visited” sub-tabs, you can even choose to stop seeing ads from a particular advertiser altogether. Unfortunately, you can’t just do a “remove all.”
- Block Facebook Mobile Browser Tracking:
You can’t completely opt out of tracking on Facebook, but you can take steps to web surf in private. 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, you should 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 three dots (…) next to “News Feed” at the top of the left rail and selecting “Edit Preferences” from 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 your News Feed.
You can also click “Un-follow people to hide their posts” to mute annoying posters (they won’t know they’ve been muted). This feature is also accessible by clicking the little arrow in the top-right corner of a post and selecting “Un-follow [Friend].” You’ll still be “friends” but you won’t see their posts on your News Feed unless you re-follow them down the line.
You’ll also find options here to reconnect with people you previously un-followed (as if), and to discover Pages you might like.
- See All Your Friend Requests, 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:
Hate 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.
- Embed Public Content:
Like other social media sites, Facebook allows you to embed publicly available content on your own personal webpage. Just click the () menu in the top-right of the file and click “Embed” to capture the code. When you look at the code, you can also click Advanced Settings to change the pixel width of the post and see a preview.
- Send Money Through Facebook:
In the digital age, 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 have a valid debit card). In addition (and probably 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 card. Once accepted, you can 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 (accessible via either the New Message icon () in the bottom-right-hand of your screen or through the Messenger link in the right side of the top rail). 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 looks like a pile of pictures; hover over it to see the Add Files designation.)
- Upload ‘360’ Pics and Videos:
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 also 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 you would get started.
- See What’s Happening All Around the World:
Scroll (click and drag) and zoom in and out (use the mouse wheel) all around the map of the world. Blue circles indicate current live streams and how popular they are (larger dots = more viewers). Placing your mouse cursor over each dot will present a preview. There are a lot of local news broadcasts, televised soccer matches, and giggling teenagers. It’s a strangely engrossing experience.
- Order Food on Facebook:
You can order food on facebook especially for those in countries where they order food outside a lot. For them, THIS is the ultimate feature (they order a lot of takeouts!) You can order food for takeout or delivery through partnerships with services like GrubHub, Delivery.com, Slice, EatStreet, and others.
If you own a restaurant, you can create a page for direct order from people interested in what you offer. Some restaurants have direct links to order on their pages, OR you can look through options by clicking over to the “Order Food” icon (it’s a plate with some flatware) in the left-hand “Explore” rail (you may have to click “see more“). On the mobile app, click the design hamburger (in the top-right corner on Android, bottom right on iOS) and scroll down to the fork/knife icon () to order.
- 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). This feature lets you 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.”
- Make a Frame:
“Camera Effects” allows third-party developers to create Snapchatesque photo/video overlays. To create your own static photo overlay, click on “Create a Frame” in the left-hand rail (or menu in mobile) and click the “Create a Frame” button to enter the Camera Effects Platform.
- Facebook Is a Virtual Arcade:
Facebook has quietly built a fairly robust multiplayer gaming platform (quietly after the days of Farmville anyway). It allows people to play against friends through Messenger, on the Facebook mobile app, or on the web. This section can be accessed by clicking the Games link in the left-hand rail (or under the menu on mobile). This section is home to dozens of free games from multiple genres including classics like Pac-Man, Snake, and Words with Friends. Users will have the opportunity to challenge friends no matter what platform they are on.
- Visit Town Hall:
I honestly didn’t know who my local state senator was until I looked at this page. Good thing Facebook was there to tell me! Facebook Town Hall will tell you your local reps and executives based on your address, and provide one-click access to follow each politician’s page, from state reps on up to the President—it also has one-click contact buttons. There is an option to turn on a “constituent badge,” which will mark you as a constituent whenever you comment on your rep’s page. You can even turn on a voting reminder to let you know about elections in your area.
- Stop with the Birthdays:
Facebook will tell you every morning who among your friends is celebrating their arrival on Earth. If you hate that and birthdays in general, you can stop the notifications. Go to Settings > Notifications > On Facebook > Edit. There are many things here you can curtail, such as highlights of what you did on that day in the past, the activities of your closest friends, the launch of new local Pages, etc. But not far down is the option to turn off the birthdays.
- Let’s Blog:
Sometimes you want to share something that is worth more than a few sentences or a single image. If you don’t have your own blog and haven’t heard of Medium, you can take advantage of a Facebook “Note.”
This is a personal blog post that lives inside the Facebook ecosystem. Here you can share paragraphs of text and multiple images (no HTML coding knowledge required).
Just head on over to facebook.com/notes, where you’ll find notes from people you follow. If you want to add your own, just click the “Write a Note” link in the top-right corner. Spill your thoughts using the easy post editor, add a cover image if you desire, and share like you would a regular Facebook post. If you can’t finish your note in one sitting, save it and publish later.
- There Are Lots of Secret Emoji:
They take away some of the horrible pain of writing in plain language. Facebook will render all the usual face emoticons into pictorial representations. But there are a whole bunch you may not be using.
(y) = thumbs-up ‘like’ symbol
(^^^) = a great white shark
:|] = a robot
poop: = well, you know
< (“) = a penguin
You can use these in posts, chats, and comments, but they don’t always render in mobile. You can find a full rundown of Facebook emoticons here—the kind you can use by clicking the smiley-face icon that brings up a menu of all the emoji you’re used to seeing on your smartphone.
- Detail Your Facebook Romance:
If you want to see the detailed internet history of you and you’re significant other, go to www.facebook.com/us, and you will see the complete Facebook history with whomever you are listed as in a relationship with (“us,” get it?). If you’re not listed as being in a relationship, it will just go to your regular page because Facebook thinks that you are just in love with yourself.
- Creep On Your Friends’ Relationships:
See a post that one friend posted on another friend’s wall? You have the ability to see a detailed history of their friendship. Type in the URL with the syntax of www.facebook.com/[first name][last name], directly followed by? and= and followed by the name of the second person. So, if you wanted to see the detailed Facebook relationship of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Netflix talk show host David Letterman, the link would be www.facebook.com/DavidLetterman?and=TedCruz. To see the history you have with someone, go to their page, click the next to Message on their cover photo, and select See Friendship. It gives you another syntax you can use similar to that above: www.facebook.com/friendship/[name]/[name]/?show_checkins=0. You’re only going to see what you’d have permission to see according to each friend’s privacy settings.
Be sure to check the official URL of each person—Facebook can assign strange characters into their official web address (for example, it will add a number if there is someone else with the same name) and there may be periods between first and last names. People can also put a weird username in for their actual name.
- Upside Down or Pirate Speak:
Remember 10 years ago, when pirates were all the rage for a minute? Well, at one point the Facebook engineers got swept up in this ironic buccaneer frenzy and programmed a peculiar Easter egg that allows you to translate your Facebook interface into Pirate or Upside-down speak.
Does this sound appealing to you for some reason? Go to Settings > Language and click Edit in the column “What language do you want to use Facebook in?” From the drop-down menu, change your settings to either “English (Pirate)” or “English (Upside Down).” Think that’s a whimsical little feature that you will never ever get sick of?! You’re wrong. It’s actually quite annoying.
You have actually seen that there are so many Facebook features you don’t really know. Help to share as widely as possible.