Think you’re a Facebook expert? There are probably a few tricks you don’t know.
Despite its issues, Facebook is the principal digital public square of today. While many young’ns might prefer Snapchat or Instagram, Zuck & Co’s social network is still an extremely important virtual venue.
Privacy scandals have yet to make much of an impact on Facebook’s bottom line; in Q1 2018, it made $11.97 billion, almost double what it did in Q1 2017, though the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in late March.
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 Cambridge Analytica has you fuming.
Facebook remains a magnet for top engineering talent, so it stands to reason that the company would boast 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 (formerly, the “Other” 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 flings reaching out or a bunch of Nigerian 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 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.
3Save 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 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? 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 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 > General and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” at the bottom. 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
Everyone on Facebook will die. Eventually. In anticipation of this unavoidable truth, Facebook lets you name a legacy contact who will manage your account after you are gone.
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 (do you really want your final image to be you in your ironic SpongeBob Halloween costume?) 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 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 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 in 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.”