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It's an understatement that Facebook has found itself in some hot water lately in regard to data privacy, thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is testifying in front of Congress today and tomorrow in regard to th…
Facebook is working hard to rebuild its reputation after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This, for the uninitiated, saw the data of tens of millions of Facebook users sold to a third party. And that data was then used in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook has started notifying people whether they’re one of the 87 million users affected. However, even if Facebook hasn’t notified you yet, you can check to see if you’re one of those affected, and do a privacy checkup while you’re at it.
Facebook Starts the Cleanup Operation
As part of its ongoing efforts to regain the trust of its users, Facebook is informing everyone whether they were caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Every single Facebook user should see one of two messages on their news feed.
The one for those affected gives a brief background to the incident. Facebook then assures users it’s “committed to confronting abuse and to putting you in control of your privacy”. Either way, you’re directed to the apps and websites settings.
Facebook’s tool to check if your data was accessed by Cambridge Analytica is now LIVE…
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) April 10, 2018
However, if you’d rather not wait to find out if your data was accessed by Cambridge Analytica, you can follow this direct link instead. This will tell you whether, according to Facebook’s records, you or your friends logged into “This Is Your Digital Life”.
If you are one of the unlucky ones there isn’t anything you can do to reclaim that data from Cambridge Analytica. However, you can see what other apps and websites you’ve given permission to, and revoke their access to your Facebook information.
Revoking Access to Apps and Websites
Most people will be surprised by how many apps and websites they’ve accessed via Facebook. And while the majority won’t be doing anything underhanded with your data, if you no longer use the app or website in question you should revoke access.
This is just the start of Facebook’s cleanup operation. Mark Zuckerberg is facing congressional hearings, and it’s possible that politicians will try to rein Facebook in a little. In the meantime, some people are considering deleting Facebook altogether.
Image Credit: Lord Jim/Flickr
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Facebook has developed a thoroughly deserved reputation for being bloated and confusing to use. And that applies whether you use Facebook on the web or on mobile.
You can trace the root of the problem back to two issues: a settings menu that lacks any resemblance of consistency between the various platforms, and the company’s insistence on including lots of strange features that nobody either asked for or uses.
Those rather bizarre features form the crux of this article. We have uncovered five particularly dumb Facebook features and figured out how you might be able to make use of them.
1. Create a Frame
Frames is part of a Facebook’s “Camera Effects Platform” (you didn’t even know that existed, did you?). It lets you create a customized frame for your profile picture, group, or business page.
Despite what Facebook might tell you about “letting people express themselves,” the tool was introduced as part of the company’s ongoing battle with Snapchat.
Once you create a frame, anyone else on Facebook can use it. Suffice to say, you shouldn’t put any personal details into your design—it’s just another way you cannot trust Zuckerberg’s company.
Where to Find It
In typical Facebook fashion, the tool is nearly impossible to find if you don’t know where to look.
To get started, you need to visit the aforementioned Camera Effects website. The site is not accessible through the regular Facebook platform and has little resemblance to the main site from a UI perspective.
Once you’re on the site, click Open Frame Studio in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and follow the on-screen instructions.
How to Make Use of It
Nobody wants to see yet another flowery border. Instead, you could use the tool for causes you believe in.
For example, perhaps you’re fighting to keep your local library open or to secure government funding for a new children’s play area in your local park. Why not create a frame that highlights the issue then share it with other Facebook users in your community?
2. Relationship History
The relationship history tool lets you see the entire Facebook history between yourself and the person you’re listed as “in a relationship with” on the network.
It will show you any photos, videos, posts, and events you’re both tagged in, anything you put on each other’s wall, any friends and jobs you have in common, and the date you became Facebook friends.
This isn’t cool. If you need Facebook to tell you about your relationship, it might be time to start looking for a new partner.
Where to Find It
Once again, there’s no way to activate this tool from within any of the Facebook apps. Instead, you need to type facebook.com/us into your browser’s address bar.
How to Make Use of It
A lot of people don’t realize you can use the tool to see the relationship between any two people on Facebook. Instead of typing facebook.com/us, try:
facebook.com/friendship/[username 1]/[username 2]
It’s a great way to do some surreptitious research before heading for a job interview or going on a first date. You could even use it to ask a girl out on Facebook!
Note: If you’re not friends with the person whom you’re researching, you’ll only be able to see their publicly available content.
3. Verified Accounts
If you follow the latest goings-on in the tech world, you’ll know Twitter has been embroiled in a bitter row about its verified accounts policy. Honestly, the company brought most of the issues upon itself thanks to its bizarre approach to verified applications, but we digress.
Facebook also has verified accounts. And as with Twitter, the blue tick is largely pointless. The company should either let everyone verify themselves so users can identify bots and fake accounts more readily, or kill the feature entirely.
Where to Find It
Unlike Twitter, many people don’t realize that Facebook offers both blue and grey ticks. The blue ticks are reserved for celebrities, public figures, and well-known brands. However, anyone with a business page can get a grey tick.
You just need to open your page and go to Settings > General > Page Verification > Verify this Page. Provide Facebook with either your company’s public phone number or a recent utility bill, and you’ll have a grey tick in a matter of hours.
How to Make Use of It
If you do have a business page, it would be folly not to claim your tick.
Unlike the Twitter ticks, a grey tick on Facebook genuinely is a sign of legitimacy and authenticity. Making sure your page has a tick lets users know you are who you claim to be. It should help drive up likes and ultimately increase your revenues.
4. Messenger Codes
Profile codes became popular on Snapchat. Since mid-2016, Facebook has offered an almost identical feature. The premise is simple: you can scan a person’s Messenger code and immediately start chatting with them.
Where to Find It
You can find your own Messenger code by opening the Facebook messenger app and tapping on your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
To scan someone else’s code, repeat the above steps then tap on your own code and select the Scan Code tab.
How to Make Use of It
We know what you’re thinking: why would you need to scan someone else’s code? It’s highly probable that you’re already friends with everyone you’d conceivably want to chat to on the app.
You’re missing the point.
Facebook codes are great for instantly starting a conversation with a company’s customer service team or with one of the many great Facebook Messenger bots. If you see a code in a shop or on an ad that piques your interest, just scan it, and you could be talking to the organization behind it within seconds.
5. Pirate-Speak and Upside Down-Speak
Facebook offers its app in more than 100 different languages. But if English is your mother tongue, you’ve got a couple of extra options: English (Pirate) and English (Upside Down).
If you select pirate-speak, all your Facebook services will get a sprinkling of oohs, aars, mateys, and other pirate-themed lingo.
If you choose upside down speak, all Facebook menus and apps will be shown, um, upside down.
Where to Find It
You can enable pirate-speak and upside down-speak by going to Settings > Language > Which language do you want to use Facebook in and choose one of the two options.
How to Make Use of It
In our experience, the only people who’ve found any use for upside down speak are residents of Australia. And you only need to turn on pirate speak if you’re planning to set sail with Bluebeard at some point over the next couple of months.
We jest, of course. There’s no logical explanation for the inclusion of the two “languages.” They only serve to make Facebook even more annoying to use. And given all the usability issues the network currently faces, that’s not something the company should be offering.
It’s just dumb, period.
Facebook Has Some Useful Features Too
It’s quite apparent that not very many people are using the five features we discussed in this article. And while you might be able to make use of some of them, others should be confined to the annals of Facebook history as soon as possible.
But Facebook isn’t all about dumb features that no one uses. Believe it or not, the service actually offers one or two useful features too. If you’d like to learn about how to make the most of the social network, check out our guide showing you how to use Facebook.
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