NEW YORK—Did you know you can add a pronunciation guide to your name on Facebook? Overlay colorful text on the photos you post? How about mark the end of a relationship without your 500 closest friends getting notified?
Many of these tips and tricks aren’t well known, even to veterans of the 1.5 billion-strong people-connector and time-waster. Facebook is constantly updating its service, adding new features or tweaking old ones. A lot can slip through the cracks even if you are scrolling through your friends’ updates several times a day.
Here are a few ways to enhance your Facebook experience:
How Do You Say That?
More than 83 percent of Facebook’s users are outside of the United States and Canada, and they use over 80 languages to communicate with friends and family. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of different ways to say your name. To add a pronunciation guide, go to the “about” section of your profile and click on “details about you,” (called “more about you” on mobile) then “name pronunciation.” Here, Facebook will offer suggestions for your first and last name that you can listen to before selecting. If none work, you can also type in your own phonetic pronouncer.
Logging in from a public computer? If you don’t feel comfortable typing in your password on a shared machine that might have malicious software, Facebook lets you request a temporary one by texting “otp” to 32665. You’ll get an eight-character passcode that works for the next 20 minutes and cannot be reused.
Anyone who’s commented on a popular Facebook post, or belongs to a particularly chatty group, knows that those notifications telling you that “Jane Doe and 4 others also commented on a post” can get a bit annoying. You can turn off notifications for individual posts by clicking on the globe icon on the top right corner of your Web browser, then on the “X” next to the individual notification. You can also change your notification settings here to get fewer or more of them for each group that you belong to.
To do this on mobile, click to view the original post, then click the down arrow in the top right corner of the post. You’ll see an option to “turn off notifications.”
Keep It on the Down-Low
Announcing engagements and marriages on Facebook is fun. Post and watch the likes and congrats roll in. Bask in the love and glory. Fast-forward a few years for some couples, and the glory fades, not to mention the love and marriage. In this case, you might not want to announce the irreversible breakdown to 450 of your closest friends.
Thankfully, you can still mark the end of a relationship without notifying everyone. Go to your profile and click on the “about” section, then “family and relationships on the left.” Under relationship, you’ll see a gray icon that probably says “friends,” or maybe “public.” Change it to “only me.” Then change your relationship status. After a while, you can change it back if you wish. Your hundreds of acquaintances will be none the wiser, unless they are stalking your profile to see if you are single.
Thanks to a popular but little-known new feature, Facebook lets you spruce up the photos you post by adding text and quirky stickers, such as drawings of scuba gear, sunglasses, or a corn dog. This tool is available on iPhones and is coming soon to Android devices. To use it, choose a photo to upload and click the magic wand icon. Here, you’ll find text overlay options as well as the same stickers you can use in other parts of Facebook.
Another recent addition to Facebook’s trove of tools is a “security checkup” that guides users through a checklist aimed at making their accounts more secure. This includes logging out of Facebook on Web browsers and apps they are not using, and receiving alerts when someone tries to log in to their accounts from an unfamiliar device or browser. To use it, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/securitycheckup on your computer—this feature is not yet available on the mobile app.