Yesterday’s blog post, just in case you missed it, featured ten (10) features that you help make the world’s largest social network, Facebook, safer, more interactive, and cool. Today, we give you fourteen (14) MORE free tips, so let’s just jump right in!
Add Some Extra Security
It’s a good idea to throw in some additional layers of security on your Facebook account. No, you shouldn’t be worried that someone will break into your account and start “liking” BuzzFeed articles like crazy. But you should be concerned that someone could get in and use the information they find to steal your identity.Here are three smart things you can do to protect yourself, which you’ll find under Settings > Security and Login > Setting Up Extra Security:
1) Enable two-factor authentication. A good idea to implement 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) Enable alerts about unrecognized logins. If somebody does manage to log-in to your account from an unrecognized device or browser, Facebook will let you know.
3) Tell Facebook some trusted contacts if you get locked out. Trusted Contacts are Facebook friends (you’ll need to choose between three and five) who can securely help you regain access to your account—for example if you forget your password or lose your mobile device—OR a nefarious person breaks in and decides to lock YOU out. And remember, you can always change your contacts later.
Block Facebook Mobile Browser Tracking
Here’s one feature you unfortunately won’t find anywhere in Facebook, and that’s the problem. When Facebook announced it was going to give users more control over ads in order to make them more targeted, it didn’t exactly publicize the fact that it would also start using your app- and web-browsing history to show targeted ads from advertisers.
Unlike most Facebook privacy settings, you can’t opt out of this kind of tracking. However, as our SecurityWatch blog points out, you can take steps to web surf in private. You can opt out via a special third-party site courtesy of the Digital Advertising Alliance. (Remember to disable AdBlocker Plus or other similar software you may be running). Follow a simple set of 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. And as your home, 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. Choose “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 “Unfollow 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 “Unfollow [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.
Creep On You Friends’ Relationships
When you see a post that a friend posted on another friend’s wall, you will have the ability to see a detailed history of their friendship. Just click the little arrow in the top right of that post and select “More Options.” There, you will get the “see friendship” option.
There is one other way to access this. If you type in the URL your Facebook page, which is probably something like www.facebook.com/[first name].[last name] and then 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 former TV personality David Letterman, the link would be: www.facebook.com/DavidLetterman?and=TedCruz.
(As you see above, those two apparently haven’t had much interaction.)
When playing with this URL trick, be sure to check the official URL of each person—Facebook can assign strange characters into their official URL (for example, it will add a number if there is someone else with the same name).
You Can Embed Public Content
Like other social media sites, Facebook allows you to embed publicly available content on your webpage. Just click the pull-down menu in the top right of the file and click “embed” to capture the code you can place on your site.
Edit Your Ad Preferences
Do you hate-follow any celebrities or personalities on Facebook? A while back, I gave a certain celebrity 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 > click “Your Interests.” You can delete an interest simply by hitting delete 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 provided your information (you’ll also have the ability to delete entries form your ad-interaction information). Under the “whose ads you’ve clicked” sub-tab, you can even choose to stop seeing ads from a particular advertiser altogether.
Send Money Through Facebook
Do you have any old people near you right now? Ask them to tell you about “Western Union”—that’s how people used to send money before the internet.
In the digital age, there are lots of services that will allow you to transfer money from your computer or mobile device, including right through your Facebook account (as long as both the sender and recipient have a valid debit card). In addition (and probably of greater interest to Facebook), these payments will allow users to purchase products and make in-game purchases through Facebook.
While this feature is largely tied to Messenger, you can use it on regular Facebook as well. To set it up, go to Settings > Payments 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, just open a pop-over conversation with one of your contacts (accessible via either the “Chat” window in the bottom-right-hand of your screen or through the Messenger icon in the right side of the top rail). Next, just click the dollar sign at the bottom of the chat window to send/request funds. Cha-ching!
Upload ‘360’ Pics and Vids
You’ve probably seen some immersive “360” photos (and some videos) popping up in your Facebook feed recently. 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. But you also have the opportunity to upload your own 360 images and video.
While you can utilize the new breed of (often expensive) 360 cameras, you can also just use your smartphone to capture a panorama or “photosphere” and upload it to Facebook.
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 Right Now All Around the World
Facebook Live is an increasingly important medium (we use it quite a bit here at the ol’ PCMag). One of this live platform’s coolest features is an interactive live map available, which you can find at facebook.com/livemap (only available for desktop).
Here you can scroll zoom all around the map of the world and see tiny blue the current live streams and how popular they are (larger dots have more people watching). Placing your mouse over each dot will present a preview. There are a lot of local news broadcasts, televised soccer matches, and pairs of giggling teenagers. It’s a strangely engrossing experience.
Order Food on Facebook?
THIS is a feature we’ve been waiting for Facebook to implement for a while! You can order food for takeout or delivery through partnerships with Delivery.com and EatStreet.
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 little hamburger) in the left-hand “Explore” rail (you may have to click “see more”). On the mobile app, you need to click the design hamburger (the three parallel lines in the top-right corner on Android, bottom right on iOS) and scroll down to the literal hamburger icon.
Make a Fundraiser
Want to help someone out (perhaps even yourself) financially? You can using the power of the crowd! On the web, click the “Fundraiser” icon (a little coin with a heart in the middle) which you will find in the left-hand Explore rail (or via the three-line hamburger icon on the mobile apps). This feature allows users to crowdsource funds via donations for themselves or on behalf of another person or organization.
It’s all pretty easy to set up, BUT there are some things to know. Fundraising campaigns will 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 considered tax-deductible. And most importantly, you should be aware that Facebook implements a fee for any donations of 6.9 percent + $0.30 to cover “payment processing, fundraiser vetting, operations, security, and fraud protection.”
Make a Frame
Earlier this year, Facebook introduced a new “Camera Effects” platform, which allows third-party developers to create Snapchatesque photo/video overlays. While the AR-like video overlay platform necessitates some technical know-how, any schmo with a command of the basics will have the ability to create a static frame.
To create your own static photo overlay, click on “Create a Frame” in the left-hand rail (or three-line hamburger in mobile) and click the “Create a Frame” button. Anyone with basic computer skills should be able to put something together.
Facebook Is a Virtual Arcade
Facebook has quietly built a fairly robust multiplayer gaming platform which allows people to play against friends through Messenger, on the Facebook mobile app, or on the web. This section can be accessed on the web by clicking the 8-bit Games link the left-hand rail (or under the three-line hamburger 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.
I honestly didn’t know who my local state senator was until just now. Good thing Facebook was there to tell me! Facebook Town Hall is a feature that will not only tell you who all your local reps and executives are based on your address, but will provide one-click access to follow each politician’s page—it also has one-click contact buttons. On this page, you’ll find the 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.