You’re probably well aware that this week Facebook decided to change the email address on your timeline to @facebook.com without asking you first. While it was easy enough to fix, there’s plenty about the social media site that’s been causing problems for users for quite a while. Let’s get them under control this weekend.
Install Social Fixer
You need to download and install Social Fixer. Pretty much every problem, annoyance, gripe, or general complaint you have about Facebook can be fixed with that one browser extension. It can change the look and feel of the site, disable the lightbox-style photo viewer, hide that annoying news ticker, track who’s unfriending you and get rid of timeline. It can do a whole lot more than that, but those are some prime of examples of why you ought to be using it. It’s essentially a panacea for the most common Facebook problems (and even a few minor ones, too).
Audit Your Approved Apps
As someone who basically never uses Facebook apps, I’m continuously surprised when I audit my approved app list every month and find things I’ve never heard of. Many apps have a way of subtly asking you for access to your personal information without you necessarily realising it and you may approve an app one month and not want to give it access in the next. Whatever the case may be, you should be regularly auditing the access you give third parties. If it has been a while, go visit your applications settings page and start removing apps you don’t want, need, or recognise. It only takes a couple of minutes and it helps ensure your privacy.
Audit Your Facebook Privacy Settings
Speaking of your privacy, you should audit those settings as well. Facebook changes things pretty often, which is why we have an guide to managing your Facebook privacy. Use it to go through all the various settings and make sure your profile/timeline is as open or locked down as you want it to be. I’m not going to lie — this is pretty tedious, but very worth it. Spending an hour on your privacy settings while you watch a movie or listen to a podcast is a lot more fun than accidentally allowing your boss to see embarrassing, drunken photos you thought were only for a select group of friends.
Clean Up Your Friends
How many of your Facebook friends are actually friends? Or maybe a better question is how many of your Facebook friends do you actually still want? When you add someone, you’re allowing them access to your information on some level. Even though Facebook provides friend groups to help you better-manage which information is shown to whom, when your friend list is in the thousands it’s easy to miss who has access and who doesn’t. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the number of people you’ve agreed to connect with on the social network, it’s time for a little pruning.
The easiest option is to just make regular posts for a couple of weeks about how you’re pruning your friends and ask that everyone who wants to stay on as one of your friends should send you a message. After the two week period is up, make a list of all people who responded. Keep them and delete the rest. If you’ve got a bunch of friends, this can take a while if you do it manually. Alternatively, check out this GreaseMonkey script called FacebookDeletes. It can help you delete batches of people and save a bunch of time.
Got Another Problem? Ask Your Friends!
One of the things Facebook is good for is crowd-sourcing, so when you have a problem you can just ask your friends for help with the solution. For example, I’d inadvertently added someone as a top friend and so I received constant notifications of every little thing they posted. This was terrible, and I had no idea why it was happening. I described the problem in a status update, posted it, and had a solution a few minutes later. I do have the luxury of subscribers, but generally when it comes to Facebook questions I get responses from my friends in meatspace. They’re on Facebook quite a bit more than me, so if I learn things about the social network it’s often from them (or because they ask me for a solution). It may be common sense, but when you’ve got a problem about Facebook then Facebook is generally the best place to go for an answer.