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 ubersocial 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.
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.
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 dobe 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.
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!
There Are Lots of Secret Emoji
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 —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. Which is, of course, also an option. Click the smiley “Insert an Emoji” icon on any post you’re making for the full menu.