has been around since 2004 - it started off slowly, only available to
students at a few elite US universities. It expanded its access to all
Ivy League students, then to all (US) college and university students
and finally to the general public worldwide. It now has over two billion
users and is increasingly popular with seniors. An April 2016 New York Times article suggested that Facebook was
popular with both seniors and the general public as a way "to bond with
old friends and develop relationships with like-minded people. They
also like to keep tabs on their loved ones." As well, seniors
appreciated it as a way to see photos of granchildren.
Facebook is a social network -
a network because it allows
you, using your computer or mobile device to connect - in real time -
with other people on their computers or mobile devices via the
Internet. because to allows to interact with other people - posting 'What's on your mind?' text, links,
photos and videos and commenting on post by your friends or by groups
or events that you've 'liked'.
More: The Different Types of Facebook Users – Which One Are You?
Also see: How Facebook Makes Money Off You: The Economics of Social Networks
Some critiques: WHO WILL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FACEBOOK? and (long read): Does Even Mark Zuckerberg Know What Facebook Is? and 6 Ways We Can Begin to Rein in Facebook's Immense Power Over Media and Our Society
To get started with Facebook, you
- set up an account - entering a real name, email address or
phone number, a password, birthdate and gender. Don't forget your
password - you'll need it from time to time. You'll get an email and be
asked to click a box to confirm you really asked to set up a new
Facebook account - then Facebook will want to peek in your email
Address Book or Contact List to see if anyone listed there has a
Facebook account, to help you 'find friends'. You can let it, or ignore
this. There are a few more option steps, letting you look at the
privacy settings and add a photo - you can do those things latter.
- notice that while you're logged onto Facebook, there's not
much happening! Until you connect with 'friends', 'join' groups or
'like' pages there won't be much to see.
- click on your name (top-middle) to add some information
about yourself - maybe a photo, where you live, where you were born,
where you went to high school or university, job, relationship. Don't
add any information you're uncomfortable sharing - but note that you
can limit information to 'friends'
- enter people or group names in the box on the top left to
see if Facebook recognizes them. Note that there may be more than one
person with the same name - click to see their page. If you think
they're someone you know, send them a 'friend request' - if they agree,
you'll be Facebook 'friends' and will see (some of) what each other
posts on Facebook.
If you've sent 'friend requests' it may take a while before these
people approve your request - once that happens you'll start to see
some of what they post onto Facebook in your 'newsfeed' - that's where
you go when you click the Home
link near the top of the page.
Let's look at the blue bar
along the top
of the Facebook page - from left to right:
Let's look below the blue bar:
- #1. a white icon with a blue letter 'f' - clicking this will take you to
the Facebook home page - not amazingly useful since you're already
- #2. a search field - you can type a name and a list of people (or
companies, groups, etc) with that name will appear. Note that it will
include their listed location or occupation, helping you choose the one
you want to check out. Click on one of the names to see what
information they've made public. If you want, click the Add Friend button on their page to
send them a friend request. There's also a Message button on their page but
unless you're already friends, they probably won't notice your message
(!). You can use the [...]
button beside the Message
button to block contact from them - useful if you're being harassed.
- #3. in the center of the blue bar you'll see a small version of
your picture (if you have one) and your first name - click there to see
your page (sometimes referred to as your wall). That's what others will see
showing what you're sharing about yourself - but if you're happy with
it, you'll probably rarely go there.
- #4. next is a link to Home
- your news feed page. This is
where you'll spend most of your time on Facebook - a scrolling list
(more or less in reverse chronological order with the most recent item
on top) of some of the things your friends have posted on their
newsfeeds. At the top, there's an empty box asking 'What's on your mind?' for you to
post something you think might be interesting to share with your
- #5. there's a Find Friends
link - this opens a page with people that Facebook thinks you might
know. Initially, it's pretty random - as you get friends, it will start
to populate it with friends of friends. It will note if someone is a
friend of more than one of your friends - if someone is 'friended' by
many of your friends, you probably know them too. You can send anyone
listed a friend request or remove them from the list.
- next are several black notification images that will light up if
you get that sort of notification - and add a red number showing you
how many of that sort of notification you've received:
- #6 shows if you've received any new friend requests or replies
from friend requests you've sent out
- #7 shows if you have any new person messages from people that
are already your friends. (Personal messages from people who are not
your friends are somewhat hidden and easy to miss!) Sending personal
messages is an important tool if you want to communicate with a single
person (or a few people) and not have your message appear on the
newsfeeds of all their friends. Learn to use it! You can send a message
by clicking on this icon.
- #8 - The globe icon lists 'notifications' for your newsfeed -
if any events you expressed interest in are happening soon, if any of
your friends 'liked' or replied to something you've posted, etc.
- last are two important but easily overlooked icons:
- #9 - click on the padlock
icon for a privacy checkup.
Facebook has been criticized for treating users as sources of
information for advertisers - with this, it's trying to give you more
control over what information about you is shared - and with whom.
- #10 - the little triangle
drops down a menu; you can probably ignore most of the items. Take a
moment to look over your News Feed
important is spending some time looking at the Settings. Finally, when you're done,
you may want to Log Out - this
is especially important if you are using a shared or public computer.
In that case, be sure to log out when you are finished using Facebook -
simply closing the page or your web browser - or even shutting down the
computer - may let the next person to got to facebook.com be 'you' on
Facebook.... not something you want to have happen!
It's a pretty
crowded screen full of lists, content, options and fiddly bits to click
on. (Right-clicking does nothing).
The grey area on the left is a set of lists, starting with your name
and an option to edit your profile. Below that is a list of Favorites -
if you start visiting groups and pages regularly, they will start being
listed here. Note the teeny triangle beside the name News Feed
- we'll come back to that
Below that is a list of 'apps' - games that play within Facebook, for
instance. Some people find these games and apps addictive.
Further down - groups and then pages that you've joined and a chance to
create your own - which may proved useful. Below that (and not visible
in the image) is a list of events you've expressed interest in - and
again, the chance to create your own.
What's the difference between a group
and a page
I hear you silently
asking. There's some overlap, but generally a page
is the official representation
of an organization and you may have only limited ability to post on it.
A group is more informal - some require that users have to be approved
to join, others are wide open - but once you join a group, you can
start your own conversations with members of the group there. You
'like' a page but you 'join' a group. (And you 'friend' or 'follow' an
More: Facebook Page vs. Group: Which is Right for Your Organization?
and Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups
The center section is your news feed
- at the top is an area where you can enter 'what's on your mind' along
with an individual photo or video or an album of photos/videos. Note on
the bottom right of that box - two buttons - the blue one in the corner
to send your
post; beside it is another important one we often overlook - who can
see your post. Currently, it reads Friends
but it might also read Public
If you create lists
your friends into groups, they will appear as More options
you want to share a web page - perhaps a news article that you read and
found interesting, select and copy the address from the address bar in
your web browser, then paste that address into a Facebook post - (your
probably want to type some text about it first) - Facebook will
automatically add the title and a graphic from that web page.
Below the box to enter 'what's on your mind' you start seeing your
actual news feed - a selection of posts by your Facebook friends, and
the pages, groups, and events that you've connected to - with some
advertising content based on what Facebook thinks your interests might
be. Note the phrase "a selection
The Big Secret #1
People think that if they post something on Facebook all their friends
will get to see it in their news feeds. Not true! On average, about
20-30% of your Facebook friends will see anything you post - and you
will only see a fraction of what they post. Facebook uses automated
'computer algorithms' to decide who gets to see what in the news feed
default, labelled Top Stories
The back story is that as people got more friends and were using
Facebook more, their news feeds were getting more and more difficult to
wade through. To help with this problem, Facebook started sending out
so-called Top Stories by default, showing posted items to only some of
the people who might expect to receive them.
Keep that in mind - if you post, say, a cute photo of your grandchild,
it probably won't appear on the news feed of all the family members
that you think should see it. If you want to make sure it reaches a
particular set of people, you might want to send it as a Facebook Message
to those people.
A side-effect - good for Facebook - is that groups, pages, events and even individuals are given the option to promote
their posts - essentially pay Facebook to put their posts on more
people's news feeds than would normally be the case. The cost is not
particularly high - it might cost $7-10 to promote a post about a music
event to people in Vancouver - but all those little bits of money add
up - especially if you want to promote the post multiple times.
The Big Secret #2
When you set up an account on Facebook, you might think you are
Facebook's customer. You're not - Facebook makes money from you, but
only indirectly. They sell access to your news feed as 'sponsored
content' - i.e. ads. And they sell your demographic information and
information about your interests and what you've viewed to interested
parties. An April 2016 New York Times article
suggested than on
average, each user earned about US$12 per quarter for Facebook. That's
part of why Facebook is caught in the dilemma of wanting to share your
personal information and wanting to respect your right to privacy. So
they offer settings to help you control who has access to your
information - but don't make these settings too obvious or easy to use! Also note: Do I Own My Photos and Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?
Back to the news feed
- at the bottom of a post on your news feed, you'll see three options:
is a quick and easy way to indicate that you've read the post and you
like and agree with it. You don't need to type a comment reading 'like'
- just click the Like button. Recently, this was expanded - if you let your mouse hover over the Like button, a
set of 'emoticons' pop up, indicating different sorts of emotional
reactions ranging from like to love to amazement to sadness or anger.
Click on one and that reaction will be added to the comment.
- Comment lets you type a
response to the original post - or a reply to a comment posted by
someone earlier. Often the arguements back and forth in the comments to
a post are more interesting than the original post - but it's one of
the ways that people can get caught up in a never-ending arguement on
Facebook. If you comment on a post, you will start getting
Notifications (see the little globe icon on the blue bar up top of the
Facebook window) every time anyone else adds a comment to that post -
this can get annoying fast!
- Share lets you share the
post within Facebook. (Facebook doesn't make it easy to share its
content outside of Facebook). You can quickly Share Now to your friends with a single click without adding anything, or Share
to open up a window letting you add a comment to the top of the post -
as it will appear to your Friends - or share it inside a group or page
(assuming you have permission to do so). Or you can send it as a
private Message to one or more individual Facebook users. (Note - they're only likely to see it if you're friends).
Scrolling down shows you a seemingly infinite lists of posts by your
friends, groups, pages, and events - and ads. From time to time, you'll
see a set of People You May Know
who you might want to 'friend'. There may be 'reminders' of friends' birthdays - birthday wishes on Facebook are very popular.
Look at the top-right corner of any of these posts - you'll see a little 'v
click on it and you'll see some options relating to that post -
different options for an ad, for instance, or a list of People You May
Know. For this post, for instance, we have an option to Hide post: see fewer posts like this
- particularly useful for ads for products you're not interested in. You can Unfollow Alan or the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle
group where the post originated - again, these might be useful to stop seeing all ads from a particular advertiser.
You can Report post
if you think it's especially nasty.
Unfriend vs Unfollow
- once you've friended someone, you may decide that you don't want to
see their posts any longer. Perhaps you're getting constant game
notifications from them or pet videos or photos of what they had for
breakfast. For whatever reason, their Facebook posts are just too
annoying to you. You can 'unfriend
them. Instead, you can choose to 'unfollow
them - you'll still be friends on Facebook but you won't see any of
their posts. They won't receive any notification that you did this -
and they will still see your posts in their news feed. (If you do
want to unfriend someone, you can go to their page - you'll see that you're listed as Friends
- clicking that button gives you the option to unfriend
(You can also unfollow them or send them a message on that page).
On the right-hand side of the Facebook window
- you see another busy list that's often ignored - in fact, this whole
column may be covered up if you're viewing Facebook in a smaller
There's a list of Trending
topics - popular items right now. (There's been some discussion over
whether Facebook's list is politically biased). Yet again a list of
'People You May Know'. If you have a lot of friends, you may see lists
of things friends have done recently on Facebook that aren't in your
news feed or the names of friends who are using Facebook right this
moment. You may see some ads - interestingly, if I look at something on
Amazon.com or check out a hotel on Expedia.com I tend to find both of
those appearing as ads on the right side of my Facebook window - an
example of how the information about my online browsing travels between
services in order to target my advertising.
The big secret #3
- we mentioned earlier that beside the phrase News Feed
in the left-hand column there was another one of those little 'v
's... now it's time to click it. Doing that gives you two choices - Top Stories
or Most Recent
The default is Top Stories - where you see only those items from your
friends, groups, pages, and events that Facebook decides to post on
your news feed. If you pick Most Recent
, you get everything from all those sources. You may want to do choose this - I do.
But be warned - it can be a mixed blessing. Everything means everything
You get all the items that everyone and every group (etc) that you're
following posts on their respective news feeds. And you see every time
they like an item that they've viewed. And you see every time they add
a friend. The time that you'll spend plowing through your news feed
will increase - at least double.
will post a notification: 'Viewing most recent stories' at the top of
your news feed, with an option to quickly return to Top Stories. And
Facebook will sometimes remember that you've chosen Most Recent when
you log back in or click the Home button in the blue bar at the top -
and some times it won't - and will bump you back to Top Stories without
saying anything about it. (There's no equivalent message saying
'viewing top stories'. When that happens, you can pick Most Recent
Note that the Most Recent list is presumably sorted in chronological
order from just now, with items getting older and older. But it might
appear jumbled when you look at when items were posted (near the top of
each news feed item) - that's because a friend of yours may have liked
an item 20 minutes ago even though the item was orginally posted two
days ago. It will appear near the top of your news feed, based on that
20 minute-old like.
More: 7 Advanced News Feed Tweaks For Facebook Users
The little lock icon near the right-hand end of the blue bar opens a menu labelled Privacy Checkup
It provides quick answers to frequently asked questions about privacy -
with links to the appropriate settings pages as needed. Clicking on the
's beside each of the
questions opens up that section to offer either further questions or a
quick answer - with the option to make a change.
For instance, for our sample new Facebook user, clicking on Who can contact me?
offers the answer Everyone [v]
- note again the little 'v
' beside the answer - clicking on that gives options: Everyone/Friends of friends
. You can pick which you prefer.
Clicking on How do I stop someone form bothering me?
lets you add the name or email of someone who you'd like to block -
this unfriends them and prevents them from messaging you or seeing
anything you post.
A link at the bottom takes you to Privacy Settings and Tools
or to a Privacy Basics webpage
with more information.
As we said up above, the little triangle at the far-right end of the
blue bar drops down a menu. Use this to log out of Facebook at the end
of your session - at least on shared or public computers. Another item
on that menu takes you to Facebook's Settings
for your account. The settings are very detailed - and the options and
their organization change from time to time without warning - here's an
introduction based on the settings in October 2016 - links are provided
for more detailed information.
On the left, there's a list of settings categories - click on an item
in the list to see the variety of settings for that category. Besides
each item listed in the main window (on the right - not illustrated)
you'll see a little pencil icon and the word Edit
Click that if you want to make changes to that item. In some cases,
you'll have a single thing to edit, but in other cases, clicking edit
will open up a list of multiple items, allowing you to make changes to
each of them.
The organization generally is straightforward - you may not need to change anything in the General
section other than perhaps setting the default temperature to Celsius. (Why nothing for other imperial vs metric measurements?)
section may be more valuable - for instance, you may want to get Login alerts
if anyone tries to log into your Facebook account from a new device or
browser. If so, you enter an email address or mobile phone # where an
alert will be sent. The next item Login approvals
sends you mobile phone a 6-digit code when there's a new login - the
person trying to log in will need to enter that code before they can
actually get to your Facebook page - blocking most hack attempts. (This
is a bit inconvenient if the person logging in is actually you, using a
friend's computer or a new device for the first time - but it may be
worth the hassle!)
The Where You're Logged In
lists devices and locations where you logged-in in the past - it's
worth reviewing this to see if you've been hacked. (What! I've never
even been to Russia!) If you see anything that looks suspicious, you
can click Close
to prevent it from logging in again - though this may be a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped.
In the Security
section you can also deactivate
your account to close it down and name a Legacy Contact
- someone who could access your account if you die or become incapacitated.
More: How to tell if your Facebook has been hacked (and what to do)
and How to permanently delete your Facebook account
section expands on the questions of the Privacy Checklist
. Note that the defaults are that anyone can contact you and that your posts are public - viewable across the Internet. More: 4 Vital Facebook Privacy Settings You Should Check Right Now
and Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About You
section lets you block people from (separately) from posting to your timeline and sending you messages. As well, you can block App invites
- useful if you're getting barraged by invitations to play the games that some of your friends are playing - or block Event invites
or specific Apps
Facebook sends out lots of Notifications
both within Facebook but also by email - you may find that you get
unneeded email messages when your friends post things. If you find
you're getting annoying notifications, this is where to turn them off!
section lets you choose
whether or not to 'see ads based on my use of websites and apps' - this
is a bit of a two-edged sword. With it on, I get ads for Amazon items
or Expedia hotels or cities I've viewed. With it off, I get random ads.
Which is a better choice? If you click to edit the option Ads based on my preferences
you get a long list of interests and categories - you can choose which
categories you're prepared to see ads for - and which you really aren't
interested in. Worth a quick browse!
item is worth looking
at - in particular, auto-playing videos can be problematic, especially
if you're connecting to Facebook on a mobile device with limited
connectivity. Turn off auto-play - you can always click to play a video
in a news feed post if you actually want to see it.
Also see: Facebook privacy tips: How to share without oversharing
Using Facebook messaging has several advantages over simply posting on
your news feed - or going to a friend's page and posting there. If you
post on your news feed, only some of your friends will see your post on
their news feed - messaging ensures they'll get notification of the
message (if they're on your friends list). If you post on their page,
presumably they'll have a chance to see it - but so will many of the
other people who are their friends. Sending them a message instead
ensures that it will be private.
You can send a message in a variety of ways. Among them:
- Click on the message icon - the cartoon voice bubbles - on the top blue bar. Pick New Message then enter one - or more - names. Facebook will try to figure out who you want to message before you finish typing.
Once you've added the name(s) of the recipient(s) you can type the
actual message - way down at the bottom. Note the icons along the
bottom to add an image, attach a file, add an emoticon symbol, etc. (If
you type ':)' it will automatically be converted to a yellow smiley face). Press enter to send your message.
- You can go to the page of one of your friends (by typing their
name in the search box towards the left end of the top blue bar) -
you'll see a Message button.
(Note that you can do this to send a message to someone who isn't
currently your friend - but they probably won't notice it - see below).
- As discussed above, if you choose to Share
a post from your news feed, one of the sharing options is to send the
post as a message - this is useful if you want to share a news item or
link or photo with one or two people without generally posting it on
your news feed as coming from you.
- If you click on the message icon
on the blue bar, you'll see a list of people who you've messaged or who
have messaged you in the last while - click on a name and you can
continue the conversation with them.
- If you click on the Messenger link in the left-hand column, a new web page will open up showing all the messages you've sent or received.
- Note that if you are using the Facebook app on a mobile device:
iPhone/iPad (iOS devices) or Android device, Facebook has recently
removed messaging capabilities from the app. Instead, you'll need to
download and install a separate Facebook Messenger
app which will open up as needed when you try to send or reply to a
message in the main Facebook app. (More on mobile apps below).
Besides the main message list, Facebook sort of hides messages from
people who are not on your friends list in two places. It's worth
checking now and again to see if you have any messages in these
- Click on Messages in the list in the left-hand column (under the News Feed item) - that will go to a messages page. You'll see that you're looking at Recent Messages as listed on the top-left of the page. Next to the highlighted word Recent you'll see (in grey) Message Req...
with the number of Message 'Requests' - people wanting to send you
messages. Click that to see the - in my case - 4 message requests. You
can click on each listed message to view it, responding if you wish -
you'll be prompted to let the sender see that you've read their message.
- As well, there's yet another hiding place! If you click More you'll get an option to see Filtered
messages.... messages that - for whatever mysterious reason - Facebook
chose not to display in either the main messages list or the 'Message
Req...' list. In my personal Facebook page, there are about a dozen,
dating back several years. A few seem to be from unknown people wanting
to make contact, one is from someone I taught in elementary school a
bunch of years ago.
The moral seems to be that Facebook messaging is not an effective way
to communicate to anyone who's not already on your friend list - this
makes it problematic if you're trying to locate a person who might
be an old friend. If you try to message them to ask if they're the
person you remember, they probably won't see the message! And you can't
attach a message ot a friend request.
New - and I haven't confirmed this - apparently Facebook has changed what happens if you send/get a message from someone who's not on your friends list -
Photos & Facebook
- You will receive a notification that you have a message request
- You will have the option to either “Ignore” or “Accept” the message after reading it
- A notification will remain on Messenger to let you know that you are not friends with the other person in the message
You can add photos to Facebook posts in a number of ways:
- Within Facebook, make a new post and type your text. Click on the Camera/Video
button on the top of the 'What's on your mind?' box and locate your
photo on your computer. You can add more than one photo to a single
Facebook if you comment on someone else's post on your news feed, you
can type your comment than click on the little camera icon in the
bottom-right of the comment box and locate your photo on your computer.
- Many photo-library apps on your computer (or mobile device) have a share option. In the Mac Photos
app, for instance, it's in the File menu, named Share - open a photo,
click File, click Share, and choose Facebook. (You can use similar
steps to share to an email message or other destination). Windows 10
Photos app, Android Gallery and Photos apps all have share options.
you want to add a bunch of photos, Facebook includes the option to
upload a 'photo album' - I prefer to use a photo sharing/storing cloud
service: Google Photos or Flickr
for instance (there are lots of others) - these all include 'share'
options letting you share an entire album by just sharing a link. This
is especially handy if your photos are already backed up to that
You can save photos that other people have posted to Facebook with the following steps:
- click on the photo to open a larger version of it
- right-click on the photo (control + click on a Mac) - pick Save Image
(or similar wording) from the popup context menu - you may be asked for
a location on your computer where you'd like the photo to be saved
- click the [X] in the top right corner to close the photo enlargement and return to your news feed
- Note that photos saved from
Facebook will be smaller than the original photo and are probably too
small to print or use in many photo projects
Many Facebook users are guilty of oversharing. There are two different kinds of oversharing; many people do both:
- Posting often about things that are on interest only to you. The
classic is posting (with photos) what you had to eat that morning, or
that you're now in the airport. The trivia of your life probably don't
matter to most of your friends!
- We all have different sorts of friends from different areas of
our busy lives - family members, old high school buddies. Facebook
encourages us to 'friend' people who are actually acquaintances - from
work, from community groups, from other activities. My music buddies
may not be interested in my political postings and neither may be
interested in photos of my grandchildren or my dog. It's not obvious in
Facebook how to target news feed posts at different sub-sections of my
Here's how you can make groups among your Facebook friends:
- Scroll down to Friends on the left side of your News Feed. Hover over Friends and click More.
- Click Create List.
- Enter a name for your list and the names of friends you'd like to
add. Keep in mind you can add or remove friends from your lists at any
- Click Create.
To use your new list - when you're posting on your news feed:
- look for the button on the bottom-right of the post - beside the blue [Post] button - it may currently read [Public] or [Friends] depending on who is currently set to view your news feed posts. Click on the button
- You'll see the standard options - Public, Friends, Only Me (an odd one!). And the end of the list, choose More Options (in fine print)
- You'll see your custom friend lists - pick the one you want.
More: How do I use lists to organize my friends?
and How to Limit Who Can See Your Facebook Posts With a Restricted List
You may still be posting photos of your breakfast - but at least you're
limiting it to the people you think might want to see it. Maybe you
have a friend list named 'breakfast buddies'!
One more thing - it's easy to share links to websites you've visited or
posts that your Facebook 'friends' have posted. As a result, Facebook
contains a huge-number of links to myths, rumours, and outright lies.
Even photos can be misleading - ranging from real photos (and video
clips) identified with the wrong information to photoshopped images
that never existed in the 'real' world.
It's easy to do a little fact-checking - Snopes.com
for instance maintains a list of popular rumours that are currently
making the rounds, along with information to help you decide whether or
not they're true. Maybe add it to your web browser's favourites or
bookmarks and use it regularly!
In March 2017, Facebook started to alert users in Germany and the USA
if they tried to post a link to an article that might be 'fake news' -
hopefully this will roll out to users in other countries as well: Facebook starts warning U.S. users when they're sharing fake news
Facebook has mobile apps for iPhone/iPad (iOS) and Android smartphones
and tablets, as well as a special version for Windows 10 in the
Microsoft store. They let you do pretty much everything you can do on a
Mac or Windows PC going to facebook.com in a web browser, but with an
interface designed for a smaller screen and for touch interfaces.
Facebook has split its browser feature set into a pair of mobile apps -
one for the main Facebook features, the second for Messenger - they
work together, each one opening the other one when needed.
There are some issues with Facebook's mobile apps, however:
- they tend to use a lot of battery power, at least partly because
they are going online constantly to check for new messages or new news
- they tend to post a lot of notifications, potentially distracting
users. (This can be turned off in the app settings or notification
settings on the mobile device)
- they want a lot of permissions - which raise potential privacy issues
- they no longer seem to allow access to the Most Recent view of your Newsfeed
Some mobile users access Facebook in other ways on their devices -
instance, you may simply go to facebook.com on your device's web
browser, just as you would on a notebook or desktop computer - you can
even add icons for that web page on your phone or tablet's Home screen.
alternate Facebook apps that may be less problematic such as Friendly for Facebook
(iOS: iPhone/iPad - free, with $3 ad-free 'Plus
' version available) or
the free Swipe for Facebook
Android app. Also for Android users: Check this article
to help you install the more efficient Facebook-Lite and Messenger-Lite versions. A bit of work but worthwhile!
Nevertheless, let's take a look at the mobile Facebook and Messenger
apps - looking at the Android version. (The iPhone/iPad versions are
|To the right, you see the Android Facebook app - it's defaulted to Top Stories in my
newsfeed, something it does every time it starts up. At the top, it's
got a smaller version of the familiar blue bar, with a Search field at
the left, a bubble that opens the Messenger app to send a message, and
a Friends list on the right.
Below that is a white toolbar - the first icon (in blue because it's
currently selected) shows the news feed. Grey icons show friend
requests, starts a 'live broadcast', and shows my notifications. On the
right is a 'hamburger menu' which will show a long list of options
including my user profile, a list of favourite groups and pages, and
then more complete lists of groups and pages I've subscribed to.
Further down, there's the option to view Most Recent
posts on my newsfeed, followed by Facebook Apps, then most of the same
settings as on the standard version. At the very bottom of this long
list of items is a Log Out option - important if someone else wanted to log into their Facebook account on your mobile device.
The second image is of the Android Facebook Messenger app
- a confusing name because both it shares the 'Messenger' name with
Google's Messenger app which is used on many Android phones for text
messaging (SMS) - both apps sit beside one another in the alphabetical
apps list - you need to know which icon opens which app. (The Facebook
Messenger icon looks like the one on the Facebook app's blue bar). When
you first install it, it wants to access your phone contacts - offering
to 'text anyone on your phone'. I chose 'Not Now'.
Another annoyance - by default the Messenger app turns on a feature it
calls 'chat heads'. This adds a bubble with the profile photo of people
you've chatter with on your phone's Home
screen. I turn it off in the app's preferences.
The icons on the Messenger blue bar: Home
- showing recent messages (and friend birthdays) - click on a message to continue the conversation. There's a big blue [+]
button to start a new conversation to someone not on the list. The telephone receiver icon
can be used to start a voice or video call to another Facebook friend
or group of friends - over the Internet. The icon showing the torsos/heads of two people
shows which of your friends already have the Messenger app and those
who don't - and urges you to invite folks to get the app. The final
icon (the white circle with a torso/head) shows my settings - user
name, phone number (if entered), notifications & sounds, plus the
option to turn Chat Heads off (yay!)
Frankly, I'm not a big fan of Facebook's mobile apps.
More: 21 Hidden Facebook Messenger Tricks You Need To Try Right Now
and What Do The Different Facebook Messenger Circles Mean? (And More)