14 Fun and Useful Facebook Tricks You’re Missing Out On

Facebook on a laptop screen

Think you know Facebook? Read on to check out our tips and tricks that you may not be aware of | Ted Aljibe/GettyImages

Whether you like it or not, Facebook is a big part of our online lives. Facebook is where we talk to our friends and update our relatives on what’s going on in our lives. For many of us, it’s where we share our photos and celebrate news of other people’s accomplishments and milestones. It’s where we post updates on our lives, and sometimes, things that we really shouldn’t post on Facebook. The social network is where we get our news, authentic and fake, and run into other posts that you really shouldn’t believe. It’s where we discover viral videos and popular music.

Many of us have complaints about Facebook, of course. We don’t like its posturing around privacy, or the company’s sketchy ad policies. We’re also not fans of how easy it is to ruin your relationships, lose your job, or look like a psychopath or narcissist on Facebook.

But we have to admit that there are still some great things about Facebook. Just about all of your friends and family members are on it. And if you know the right tricks and shortcuts, it’s actually a pretty powerful and fun platform to you. Read on to check out our favorite insider tips, tricks, and shortcuts. They’re both fun and useful. And they can help you do more with the social network and its Messenger app.

1. Play games with Messenger

young teens playing videogames outdoors

Now, games are available on messenger | iStock.com/oneinchpunch 

Facebook recently made Messenger a lot more fun. You can play a variety of games, like Words with Friends, Pac-Man, EverWing, Space Invaders, Track & Field 100M, and Galaga without leaving the app. To start a game, open a conversation with a friend or friends. Then, tap on the game controller icon just below the text box and choose a game to start playing. You can find games within the Messenger search field or on the Facebook News Feed. 

2. Make a profile video

student sitting on steps and using smartphone

You can add movement to your profile picture now | iStock.com/DragonImages

Everybody has a profile photo. Why not upgrade your profile and add a profile video instead? You can take or upload a video of up to seven seconds in length. It will appear at the top of your profile, just like a profile photo would. To add a video, go to your profile and tap your profile photo. Then, tap Take a New Profile Video or Upload Video or Photo to choose one from your phone. Tap Next and choose a thumbnail, and then hit Save or Use. 

3. Save articles to read later

Two women sitting in a bar and staring at mobile phones

Save articles that look interesting | iStock.com/oneinchpunch 

When you scroll through your News Feed, you probably encounter lots of articles that you aren’t interested in reading. But on a good day, you may run across a few that you’d like to read — and you may not actually have the time to read them right away. So save them for later by tapping the downward arrow next to the post and hitting Save link. Later, you can find those links by going to the Saved tab on the Favorites bar. 

4. Search for recipes

mother and baby playing with smartphone

Facebook just made cooking easier | iStock.com/DragonImages

Late in 2015, Facebook revamped its social network’s search functionality. The changes make it easier to find posts and articles. And many fans noticed that the changes also made it easier to search Facebook for recipes. You can search for a specific meal or for a category of recipes, and you’ll see relevant posts not only from your friends, but from media outlets and even chefs and restaurants. 

5. Stop videos from automatically playing in your News Feed

woman using a smartphone

Annoyed by videos that automatically play? You can stop that now | iStock.com/pattonmania 

Videos that auto-play in your Facebook News Feed are both annoying and distracting. You can stop them from automatically playing by tapping Settings, then Account Settings. Then, hit Videos and Photos. You’ll see a variety of options, including allowing videos to auto-play on cellular and Wi-Fi connection, just on Wi-Fi connections, or even never. 

6. Watch Facebook videos on your TV

boy using smartphone while his friend is working on a laptop

Never crowd around your smartphone again to watch a video | iStock.com/DragonImages

We’ve all gathered our friends and family around a phone or tablet so that everyone can try to watch a video that somebody shared to Facebook. But if you own an Apple TV or Google Chromecast, you can watch videos from Facebook on your TV. Just find the video you want to watch and press the TV symbol in the top right corner. Then, select the device that you want to stream to. 

7. Hide posts from specific people

businessman text messaging

You can hide posts from specific people on Facebook | iStock.com/DragonImages

When you create or share a post, you can opt to hide it from specific people. Select the options you want from the drop-down menu at the top right of a post. If you want all of your friends to be able to see a post with a few exceptions, you can hide it from specific people by choosing the “Friends except” option on Facebook’s app or “Custom” on the desktop version of the platform. 

8. Share Instant Video in Messenger

guy using a smart phone to listen music with headphones

Sharing real-time videos just became possible on Facebook | iStock.com/max-kegfire

When you’re having a conversation with a friend in Messenger, you can tap the video icon in the top right corner to start sharing real-time video. Audio will be off by default, but you can easily turn it on. The video will float over the text conversation, which you can continue. The friend on the other end of the conversation can watch your video stream and can share a video back if they choose. 

9. Record a birthday video for a friend

smiling man shopping with tablet pc

What better way to say happy birthday than with a special video? | iStock.com/max-kegfire

Most of us just write a quick post to wish a friend or family member “Happy Birthday” on Facebook. But you can actually record a birthday video for your friends. Just head to their profile, and when you go to write a post, you’ll see a blue bar that says “Record a birthday video.” Then you can choose among a variety of birthday-themed filters and record a 15-second video. 

10. Edit a post or a comment

Girl playing on her smartphone on the subway

You can edit old posts | iStock.com/LewisTsePuiLung

We all create posts or write comments that we’d like to change later. Thankfully, Facebook offers the option to edit out your typos or clarify the questions you’re asking your network. Tap the downward arrow at the top right of a post to open the drop-down menu, and then hit Edit Post. If you want to edit one of your comments, tap the pencil icon to the right of it to either edit it or delete it. 

11. Send or receive money in Messenger

Two women friends laughing and sharing social media videos

Facebook Messenger makes it easy to exchange money | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Many people use apps like Venmo to send or receive money with their friends or roommates. But you can actually do the same thing right from Messenger. You just need to add a debit card issued by a U.S. bank to your account. Then, you can open a conversation with the person you want to send money to and tap the dollar sign icon. Enter the amount that you want to send, tap Next, and then hit Pay. 

12. Encrypt your Facebook Messenger conversations

Woman wearing orange shirt texting on a smartphone

Encrypt your messages for more privacy | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

If you’re conscious of your security and privacy, even when you use platforms like Facebook Messenger, you’ll be happy to learn that you can encrypt the conversations you have with friends on Messenger. The option is available at the top-right of the new message screen and also enables you to choose an expiration time for your messages (which ranges from five seconds to one day). 

13. Create a 360-degree photo

A female hand is holding a smartphone

Create a panoramic photo that you can post to Facebook | iStock.com/lolostock

As of mid-2016, Facebook made it possible to share 360-degree photos on the social network. You can take a panorama with your phone or capture a 360-degree photo using a dedicated app or camera. Then, you just post it on Facebook as you would with a regular photo. From there, Facebook converts the image to a 360-degree photo that people can interact with. 

14. Control the ads you see on Facebook

handsome man playing with cellphone

You can control what kind of ads you see on the social network | iStock.com/zhudifeng

Nobody likes to think about how much Facebook knows about us or how it uses that information to show us ads that are targeted to our interests and activities. But Facebook enables you to control the kinds of ads that you see on its social network. You can stop seeing certain kinds of ads, like those that are related to a specific interest. Or you can opt to stop seeing ads from companies that have added you to their customer list.