8 Hidden Facebook Tricks You Need to Know

Updated: Mar 09, 2017 9:30 AM ET | Originally published: Feb 04, 2015

More than 1 billion people regularly use Facebook, but that doesn't mean they know all the hidden tricks for using the social media platform. Both Facebook and its messaging companion app are constantly being refreshed with new features and redesigns, which can make it hard to keep up.

Here are eight tricks to make sure you're on top of your Facebook game:

Read old Facebook messages without scrolling forever

Get ready for a trip down memory lane (and for a great #tbt) without endlessly scrolling through conversations. The easiest (but slowest) way to see the first Facebook messages you sent to a friend is to download all your Facebook data, which you can do by going to General Settings and following the bottommost link. This can take hours or days because the function compiles every single message you've ever sent, among other data.

Here's a faster way: On Facebook for desktop, go to https://m.facebook.com/messages/. (This is the mobile site, and its URLs displays differently, which you'll use to your advantage.) Now click on a friend's chat. Right click on the button See Older Messages... and open the link in a new tab or window. In this new page, you'll see a long URL with a lot of numbers. Look for the part that says &start=7.

The "7" refers to the indexed messages that appear. Your messages are indexed from 1, 2, 3 ... from most recent to least recent. You're going to want to set that number as close to the total number of Facebook messages you've ever sent to your friend and refresh the page — this will get you straight to the oldest messages.

Of course, you may not be able to track down the exact number of messages you've exchanged with a friend. But if you're trying to view older messages in a thread that's carried on for years, setting that number to a high value in the hundreds will likely bring you back months, or even years, depending on how often you interact with that person.

Save posts for later viewing

If you don't have time to read all of the news stories that pop up in your feed, try saving them for later. Just tap or click the arrow that appears in the upper right corner of a post and select "Save post."

You can do this for any type of post, whether it be a link to a news story, a video, or some other type of media. After you save a post, tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the Facebook app and press the "Saved" option. On desktop, just look under the Explore tab along the right side of the screen and click "saved.”

Read more: How much time have you wasted on Facebook?

Approve posts you're tagged in before they appear on your Timeline

You can't always control which photos and videos of you end up on Facebook. But you can prevent unwanted tagged posts from showing up on your Timeline. When Timeline Review is turned on, you'll be able to view photos, videos, and other posts you're tagged in and manually choose whether they appear on your Timeline.

Click the down arrow located in the top right corner of the screen on the desktop, and choose "Activity Log." Then choose "Timeline Review," and press the settings icon. A dialogue box explaining how Timeline Review works will appear on screen, from which you can enable the feature.

To do this through the Facebook app, just press the menu button, choose "Privacy Shortcuts," and then "More Settings." Tap the "Timeline and Tagging" button. Look for the option that says "Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline?" and make sure it's turned on.

It's worth noting that just because a post doesn't appear on your Timeline doesn't mean it won't show up in other places. It may still appear in search results, in the Newsfeed, or on the Timeline of another friend who's tagged in the same post.

Disable read receipts

Trying to ignore someone? Then you're probably not a fan of read receipts — that note that says "Seen" followed by the time or date you opened the message.

There's no way to disable read receipts within Facebook, so you'll have to turn to third-party applications. For Chrome and Android users, there's the Facebook Unseen App.

Attempt any of these methods at your own risk, as Facebook's Terms of Service state, "You will not do anything that could disable, overburden, or impair the proper working or appearance of Facebook." Plus, the Android app has received unflattering reviews from users, according to its Google Play Store listing.

Maximize photo privacy

What can people see on your Facebook profile? To find out, go to your profile, and select View As... from the menu button on the bottom right corner of your cover photo. Now you'll be able to see what your profile looks like to the public as well as to specific friends.

You might've noticed if you type "Photos of John Doe" into Facebook, you'll still see photos of your friend John Doe — even if he's set his tagged photos on his profile to private. That's because the friends who uploaded tagged photos of John have set the photos' settings to Public, Friends or Friends of Friends, and you fall under one of those categories.

If offending photos of you uploaded by somebody else are set to Public or Friends of Friends, then it's possible that people who aren't even your Facebook friends can see those photos. So how do you know which embarrassing photos might be visible to non-friends or friends? Go to your Activity Log (it's under the triangle-shaped button in the top-right corner). On the left-hand column, click on Photos, then select Photos of You. On the top banner, choose Public, Friends of Friends or Friends after Shared with: to see which photos of you are out there for which groups of people.

If a friend uploaded an embarrassing photo of you that's set to Public or Friends of Friends, your only options are to ask him or her to change the setting to Friends. (You could also ask him or her to set it to Only Me if it's that bad, or delete it altogether.) Or, you can untag yourself. It's a slow process to manually check your photos, but a thorough inspection should do the trick.

Facebook also added a new page that breaks down various privacy-related FAQs earlier this year. On this website, called Privacy Basics, you'll find answers to questions about who can see your photos and more.

Prioritize posts from friends in your News Feed

Many factors contribute to what shows up in your News Feed, such as the people you interact with most and the number of likes and comments a particular post receives. But you can make sure you don't miss new posts from your closest friends or family members by clicking the down arrow in the top right and choosing "News Feed Preferences." In the app, tap the menu button and then the "Settings" option to find this section. You'll then be able to individually select friends whose stories you'd like to see at the top of your News Feed.

Check hidden Inbox messages

Messages you receive from people who aren't your Facebook friends don't show up in your Inbox. They're in a different folder that most people think is reserved for annoying Event messages. So go to Messages and click on New Message Requests and you may find messages from friends or acquaintances that you haven't connected with on Facebook yet.

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