Facebook has grabbed hold of our social lives and has become much more than a virtual photo album for hanging out with family and friends. Today, people all over the world create and join groups, do business, present fully operational websites for their organizations and schedule a whole calendar of events under FB.
You probably know you can now (for better or worse) broadcast live on Facebook, and it has your back if you’re looking for a Craigslist alternative for selling your unwanted items.
Real Facebook enthusiasts have a whole arsenal of tools at their ready to help them remember long-lost acquaintances, keep a check on security and send mammoth files with a tap.
What are these “secret” Facebook functions? Here are a few of our favorites.
1. Find out where you’re logged in
You can open Facebook on your computer, and you can open it on your phone. Many users keep it open all day long, jumping from device to device to check up on friends or post a picture. But we forget where we’ve logged in, and whether we ever logged out.
Facebook lets you view all the places you’ve logged in. And you can see whether someone has logged into your account, pretending to be you.
This feature is easy to find. Just to go to Settings >> Security Settings >> Where You’re Logged In, and you’ll find a list of devices that are currently accessing your Facebook account. The feature also lists login metadata, such as when and where you last checked in, plus the type of device you used.
That said, if your login information looks weird, it’s possible your account has been compromised. You may need to lock down an extra step to secure your account.
2. Check message requests folder
One of Facebook’s features is the “Message Request.”
If your (real) friend Sally writes to your account, but you haven’t made your relationship “Facebook official,” Sally’s message will get sent to the Message Request folder. Many longtime Facebook users have no idea that this folder exists, so messages may hang out for months or years before getting noticed.
Check this folder. Some of the messages may be spam, but then again, you may have a note from your long-lost crush.
To check on this secret folder, go to Messenger >> Settings >> Message Requests >> See Filtered Requests. This will reveal the messages that Facebook has hidden from you.
3. Send files using Messenger
Messenger was once just a cute alternative to email. Now, Facebook has built up this service, adding the ability to make phone calls, hold video chats, send money and other things.
Messenger also has the ability to send documents by using various methods. You probably know you can transmit Word docs, PDFs, photos and even short videos by Messenger.
Fewer users are aware that you can also use Dropbox to send files. No longer linked only to email, Dropbox has joined with Facebook to make sharing files even easier. For this to work, you’ll have to download the Dropbox and Messenger apps on your mobile device.
Facebook recently added an encryption privacy setting to its Messenger app that allows you to have “secret conversations” that no one else can access. But to take advantage of this feature, you must turn it on, since the default setting for conversations in the Messenger app is off.
4. Set up a Legacy Contact
A friend or loved one dies, and you realize that the departed still has an active Facebook account, but there is no way to access it. This can be extremely unsettling for the mourning survivors.
This is why many people set up a “legacy contact” – someone who will take over an account after its original user passes. The legacy contact can save all materials, alert contacts that the person is no longer alive and block the account from sending out automatic friend requests.
To set this up, go to Settings >> Account Settings >> Security >> Legacy Contact. Then just pick someone from your contacts. You can decide whether to send this person an automated message to let them know about the honor you’ve bestowed. You can also give this contact the ability to download and archive your full body of posts, photos and profile information.
5. Add trusted contacts
You might have a friend or neighbor who keeps a copy of your house key, just in case you get locked out. Well, a “trusted contact” is essentially the same thing, only it’s for Facebook passwords. While most people will never be in this situation, it’s nice to have a backup in case of an emergency.
To select trusted contacts, open Settings >> Account Settings >> Security >> Your Trusted Contacts >> Choose Trusted Contacts. Then, just like your legacy contact, you can select from your list of friends.
6. Opt out of advertisements
You receive advertisements based on what FB believes are your interests. For people who value their privacy, this snooping can be very concerning.
To help keep Facebook from stalking your every click, open Settings >> Accounts Settings >> Ads. You will see four categories to choose from:
- Do you see online ads from Facebook?
- Can your Facebook ad preferences be used to show your ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies?
- Who can see your social actions paired with ads?
- Manage the preferences we use to show you ads.
7. Retrace your relationships
Once you hit a few hundred friends, you may start forgetting who some of them are. Don’t worry. It happens to almost everybody. You find “John Jacobs” in your list of friends, and his picture doesn’t ring any bells. Who is this guy? Go to www.facebook.com/us, and you will see the complete history (if any) you share on Facebook with one of your contacts. This may very well jog your memory.
While you’re here, go to About >> Family and Relationships >> Edit, and depending on your status, you can add the name of the person you’re in a relationship with and the date of your anniversary.
To add a relationship as a life event on your profile, hit About >> Life Events, then select the type of relationship you’d like to add.