Since its founding in 2004, Facebook now has almost 900 million active daily users, but as it continues to evolve, many of us are finding it harder and harder to manage some of the more important settings, such as those that deal with privacy and security. In fact, even if you are completely familiar with the privacy and security settings provided by the world’s most popular social media platform, you’ll likely find that they still leave a lot to be desired. While some of us would even like to be done with Facebook altogether, it isn’t quite that simple for those of us who have come to rely on it as a way to keep in touch with friends around the world. In this article, we’ll take a look at six tips and tricks that will help you to better tailor Facebook to work for you.
1 – Disabling Message Seen Receipts
Facebook has been happily encroaching on our privacy ever since it came into being, with one of the most invasive features also being one that you cannot easily turn off. Whenever you read a new private message, the sender will know immediately, since his or her message will be marked as ‘seen’. If you don’t have the time or the desire to reply immediately, the sender may think that you’re ignoring them. While Facebook itself provides no way to disable this feature, there are a few third-party solutions. Users of Google Chrome can use the Facebook Unseen extension, while others can try the Unseenly Facebook app. With either solution, you’ll be able to read messages without the sender knowing whether you have seen them or not.
2 – Embedding a Facebook Post on Your Website
Just as you can embed YouTube videos and various other pieces of content from popular services around the Web onto your website, you can also embed certain Facebook posts. A fairly new feature introduced in July, 2013, you can only embed public posts from pages and profiles. A post that is publically available will feature the small globe icon beside the time and date of the post. If indeed the post is public, you will be able to find the “Embed Post” option by clicking on the arrow in the top-right corner of the post and clicking “More options”. The code required to embed the post will appear, and you can paste it into any webpage or widget. Your visitors will be able to interact with the post by liking or sharing it from your website, without even having to open Facebook.
3 – Appearing Online Only to Selected People
By organising your friends list into different groups, you can appear online or offline to different contacts in Facebook chat. To create a new group of friends, click on the “Friends” link in the left-side column of the Facebook homepage, and click “+Create List”. Provide a name for the list, and start typing in the names of the people you want to appear offline to. To save time, Facebook will suggest friends as you type their names, and you can just click on the appropriate icon instead of manually typing out every name. Add as many names as you want before clicking “Create”. Now, open up the chat in Facebook, and click on the cogwheel icon followed by “Advanced Settings”. Select the first option, and enter the name of the list you just created before clicking “Save”. You will now appear offline to everyone specified in the list you created earlier.
4 – Blocking Status Updates
Most of us have at least one friend on Facebook who seems to live their lives posting the most inane and irritating status updates. However, even though you might find a particular person’s posts thoroughly annoying, you don’t necessarily need to remove them from your friend’s list. Instead, you can simply unsubscribe from their posts without them even knowing. Additionally, you can hide posts that your friends share from a friend of theirs or hide posts from a particular Facebook page. To see the available options, simply click on the arrow in the top-right corner of the post and choose your preferred unsubscribe option.
5 – Deleting All Private Messages
In another affront to personal privacy, Facebook makes it extremely complicated and time-consuming to delete your private messages. You can manage your messages by clicking on the messaging icon in the top-right of the page and clicking “See all”. To delete individual messages, you can simply move the cursor over the conversation in the column to the left and click on the cross that appears. However, there is a catch: your messages won’t be deleted, and instead they will simply go to the archive folder. To permanently delete a particular conversation, you’ll need to open it before clicking “Actions” followed by “Delete Conversation”. Of course, this process can literally take hours upon hours if you have a lot of conversations as most of us do. The only way to automate the process, and delete all conversations at once, is to use an up-to-date browser add-on, such as Facebook – Delete All Messages for Google Chrome.
While the above tips should help you to better tailor Facebook to your requirements, starting over from scratch or deleting your account entirely is quite another matter. Though deactivating your Facebook account so that no one else can find you or your posts, permanently deleting it requires that you send a request to Facebook, after which it can take up to 90 days for everything to actually be removed from the social network’s servers and backup databases.