Facebook gives us so much: Ways to connect with old friends and keep in touch with family members, endless recipe videos to watch but never make, and even a way to get a quote from a handyman. But with each new feature roll out comes notification, privacy, and sometimes butt-dialing consequences, and we’re over it. From pesky notifications to “On This Day” memories you may not want to remember, here’s how to take control of your Facebook experience.
1“On This Day” memories
Some memories belong in the past. You can control whether you get any of the “On This Day” memory posts and even go as far as listing a specific person and a specific date that you do not want to be reminded of. On the left-hand side, in the same column that has your News Feed, Messenger, and Marketplace listed go down to Explore and find “On This Day.” Click on this page to either go through all your old memories that happened on this day, limit what memories you see, or all of the above. On the top right-hand side, you will see “Notifications” and “Preferences.” Notifications will allow you to control all the memories deciding whether you want to see none at all or just the highlights. Preferences is where you can get down to the nitty gritty and decide if there are certain people or certain days you would rather not be reminded of. You make the rules.
Scrolling through your newsfeed, there are some videos you just do not want to see but with no warning they play anyway. To stop videos from auto-playing, all you have to do is go to “Settings,” click on the “Video” section, select the drop-down menu to the right of “Auto-Play Videos” and switch it from default to off.
With Facebook Messenger, you can now see which friends are nearby, but to do so you have to share your location with Facebook. If you want Facebook to stop sharing your location, all you have to do is go to “Settings” on your Facebook app, click “Location,” and make sure Location is set to never. You can always change this back should you decide you want to start sharing your location again.
No surprise, with Facebook Live came more notifications. Whether you are tagged in a video or not, Facebook lets you know when friends go live—if you find yourself not interested in tuning in, you can turn these notifications off with just a couple clicks. Under Settings go to “Notifications,” click “On Facebook” to get a list of notifications you can control—when you find “Live Videos” switch the drop-down menu to off. You can also control notifications about tags, birthdays, marketplace and more here.
Getting notifications from a group you joined years ago but just aren’t ready to leave yet? Turn those bad boys off. At the top of the group page click on “Notifications” and pick your poison: “All posts,” “Highlights,” “Friends’ posts,” or my personal favorite, “Off.”
6Message read notifications
Open a message before you are ready to respond and don’t want to leave someone on read or forget to answer later? No problem. You can easily mark messages as unread giving yourself a bit more time to formulate a response. Next to each conversation under your messages, you will see a little circle on the right, if the circle is open it means the message has been marked as read, if it is closed it has been marked as unread. To change a message from read to unread and vis versa just click the circle. Voila!
7Video/voice calls via Facebook Messenger
It’s possible to accidentally place a call to a friend through Facebook messenger (the 2017 version of butt dialing), and your cell phone’s data plan will be charged when it happens. Avoid that nonsense by doing this: On your desktop, click the gear icon on the chat panel and select “Turn Off Video/Voice Calls.” While you’re here you can also turn off “Chat Sounds” if you so choose. To turn off Voice Calls on the messenger app is a bit more involved. You have to remove the microphone permissions for the app—to do so go to “System Preferences” on an iOS device and simply toggle the microphone off. This way when you try to make a call via the Messenger app, you will be urged to give Messenger permission to access the microphone before the call is placed. Consider 2017 butt-dialing solved.
8Candy Crush invitations
Do you have a Facebook friend from high school whom you haven’t spoken to in years but who keeps inviting you to play Candy Crush on Facebook? Not to worry, you can put a stop to that by blocking their app invites. All you have to do is go to “Settings,” select “Blocking,” and type the name(s) of your friend(s) who you don’t want to receive invites from. This also works for events, apps in general, pages, and messages.
9Friends attending events near you
Because here’s the thing: You probably don’t care, since it’s probably not something you really spend time with IRL (and if you do, then chances are, you already know they’re going). This one is easy. The next time you get a notification that friends are “attending an event near you” (that sometimes is not even really near you because Facebook doesn’t know that you moved), all you have to do is click the ellipsis on the right and select “Turn off notifications about friends attending events near you.” Works like a charm.
10Ads you don’t want to see
If you are either feeling targeted by your Facebook ads or are simply being shown content you are not interested in, you are not alone. The next time an ad you would prefer not to see pop up, click the ellipsis on the right and select “Hide Ad.” You will then have the option to “Hide all ads from…” Click this and you are free from the reigns of this specific advertisement. On Facebook, at least.