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Secret Facebook features: 15 tips and tricks

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Written by Kamil Arli

Tech Columnist LUKE JOHNSON published an article on the 15 tips and tricks to get more out of the social network

Think you’re a Facebook pro? Think again. Sure, Facey-B might have dominated the past decade of your online activity, but there’s a good chance you’re still not getting the most out the world’s biggest social network. So set your ego aside and listen up, it’s lesson time.

Believe it or not, Facebook’s no longer just that friendly little blue website you post drunken photos to. Squillions of development hours have been put into this thing, filling it with all manner of features you might not be aware of, including this lot.

1. STOP THE ENDLESS SEARCH FOR EMOJI WITH TEXT SHORTCUTS

Where would we be without our trusted friends, the “sexy aubergine” or “jolly poop”? Sometimes words just won’t cut it, but searching for the exact emoji you want can be a pain. The category menus for emoji are far from intuitive, each contains such a mass of symbols that confusion often ensues.

Forget scanning fruitlessly; entering text shortcuts will insert the relevant emoji into your message when it’s sent. For instance, typing :poop: will add the poop emoji. Unfortunately not all emoji get shortcuts, but the most popular ones are included.

Shark (^^^)

Middle Finger [[midfing]]

Not Bad [[notbaad]]

Horny 3:)

2. YOU CAN UNFRIEND SOMEONE WITHOUT LOSING ACCESS TO THEIR ACCOUNT

Facebook unfollow

When unfriending someone on Facebook classes as workplace bullying, we’re all in trouble. You can cut people out without all the drama though. Simply unfollow them instead of unfriending them. This completely stops all of their nonsense from appearing on your wall, while still offering you full Facebook stalking rights to their accounts when the mood takes.

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To do this, hit the ‘Following’ button on the pages of your Facebook foes. You’ll see options to unfollow them as well as ‘See First’. But that’s for people who you want right at the top of your newsfeed, not those who make you want to put all your Facebook-connected devices in a tub of acid. Tap the unfollow option, stat.

3. THERE’S A HIDDEN BASKETBALL GAME IN MESSENGER

Facebook Messenger Basketball Game

How to find and play ALL the hidden Facebook games

If you haven’t heard about this already, what rock have you been living under? Seriously, it’s Facebook’s worst kept secret and it’s an addictive time-sap of a game. Scurried away within Facebook Messenger, the basketball-based plaything lets you challenge your chums to shoot some hoops directly within the chat window.

It’s not something you’re likely to stumble across either. To play, you need to send your friend a basketball emoji then click on the sports-themed pictogram. This will launch the game over your chat, with both players’ high scores being logged in the feed.

4. HOW TO FIND FACEBOOK’S SECRET MESSAGE INBOX

Facebook Messenger hidden inbox

We all know how to find Facebook’s message inbox – heck, they put little red numbers over it every time you get a message – but did you know there’s a second, secret message inbox? No? Didn’t think so. This is the stomping ground of all the messages you’re sent from people not inside your Facebook friends group.

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There are probably far more messages than you’re expecting, you just need to know where to look for it – it’s secret, not signposted after all. To get there, open the Facebook Messenger app and click Settings >> People >> Message Requests >> See Filtered Requests and enjoy a list of four -year-old messages you lucky thing.

5. YOU CAN STILL POKE PEOPLE

Facebook generic

Facebook’s original favourite feature – poking – still lives, really. Who knew, right? The social media equivalent of an office sexual harassment nightmare might not be the front-and-centre feature it once was, but it’s still there if you know where to look.

That place isn’t something you’re likely to stumble across though. On a friend’s profile page, click the “…” next to the ‘Message’ tab that sits over their cover photo. This will launch a drop-down menu that includes, amongst other things, the ability to have a good ol’ poke. It’s Facebook circa 2007 and we love it.

6. SEE MORE STUFF FROM YOUR FAVOURITE PEOPLE

Facebook tips and tricks

There’s a point that comes in all of our lives: the day you realise your Facebook feed is full of inspirational quotes posted by people you wouldn’t trust for directions to the nearest newsagent’s. That and sponsored links. When that day arrives, it’s time for a refresh.

One way to give Facebook’s feed algorithms a kick up the arse is to start labelling your Facebook contacts as ‘close friends’ and ‘acquaintances’. All the updates from your close friends will appear on your news feed, diluting the drivel your ‘acquaintances’ post. How? Well, in the ‘Friends’ tab you’ll see a drop-down box next to each of your mates’ entries. In this you can label them with these two all-important tags. Doing so will up the quality of your news feed dramatically.

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7. GET FACEBOOK TO STOP SENDING YOU BIRTHDAY NOTIFICATIONS

Facebook Notifications

Facebook has become the best way to keep track of people’s birthdays. However, it can get a bit much. When 90% of your smartphone alerts are Facebook’s birthday reminders, or Domino’s telling you they’ve a new offer, things need to change. It’s no way to live.

You can switch off birthday notifications to your phone altogether though. If you go Settings >> Notifications >> Mobile, you can easily ditch the celebratory reminders. Huzzah, now we can go back to forgetting our best friend’s special day, just as nature intended.

8. SEND A FACEBOOK UPDATE OVER SMS

Facebook tips and tricks

“PLEASE HELP, I’M STUCK IN A RAVINE, NEED ASSISTANCE #FML.” A Facebook update like this could save your life. Maybe. And you could make it using the text function on your phone. That’s right, you can text Facebook like it’s 999.

There’s a dedicated feature for this called Facebook Texts. All you need to do is link a phone to your account, which we imagine most of you have done by now, then send a message reading “F” to 32665. This will set you up, then you just text that number again with your status update. There’s actually a whole bunch of other things you can do from your mobile too, like get texts every time a certain friend posts something – creepy.

About the author

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Kamil Arli

Editor of DigitalReview.co. Digital Media Consultant

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