List of Facebook features
Facebook is a social network service website launched on February 4, 2004. This is a list of software and technology features that can be found on the Facebook website and are available to users of the social media site.
On September 6, 2006, Ruchi Sanghvi announced a new home page feature called News Feed. Originally, when users logged into Facebook, they were presented with a customizable version of their own profile. The new layout, by contrast, created an alternative home page in which users saw a constantly updated list of their friends' Facebook activity. News Feed highlights information that includes profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates. This has enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause. News Feed also shows conversations taking place between the walls of a user's friends. An integral part of the News Feed interface is the Mini Feed, a news stream on the user's profile page that shows updates about that user. Unlike in the News Feed, the user can delete events from the Mini Feed after they appear so that they are no longer visible to profile visitors. In 2011 Facebook updated the News Feed to show top stories and most recent stories in one feed, and the option to highlight stories to make them top stories, as well as to un-highlight stories. In response to users' criticism, Facebook later updated the News Feed to allow users to view recent stories first.
Initially, the addition of the News Feed caused some discontent among Facebook users. Many users complained that the News Feed was too cluttered with excess information. Others were concerned that the News Feed made it too easy for other people to track activities like changes in relationship status, events, and conversations with other users. This tracking is often casually referred to as "Facebook-Stalking". In response to this dissatisfaction, creator Mark Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site's failure to include appropriate customizable privacy features. Thereafter, users were able to control what types of information were shared automatically with friends. Currently, users may prevent friends from seeing updates about several types of especially private activities, although other events are not customizable in this way.
With the introduction of the "New Facebook" in early February 2010 came a complete redesign of the pages, several new features and changes to News Feeds. On their personal Feeds (now integrated with Walls), users were given the option of removing updates from any application as well as choosing the size they show up on the page. Furthermore, the community feed (containing recent actions by the user's friends) contained options to instantly select whether to hear more or less about certain friends or applications.
On March 7, 2013, Facebook has announced a redesigned newsfeed.
"Friending" someone is the act of sending another user a friend request on Facebook. The two people are Facebook friends once the receiving party accepts the friend request. In addition to accepting the request, the user has the option of declining the friend request or hiding it using the "Not Now" feature. Deleting a friend request removes the request, but does allow the sender to resend it in the future. The "Not Now" feature hides the request but does not delete it, allowing the receiver to revisit the request at a later date.
It is also possible to remove a user from one's friends, which is referred to as "unfriending" by Facebook. Many Facebook users also refer to the process as "de-friending". "Unfriend" was New Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year in 2009. Facebook does not notify a user if they have been unfriended, but there are scripts that provide this functionality. There has also been a study on why Facebook users unfriend, which found that differences, especially between ages, and few mutual friendships were the dominant factors correlated with unfriending, all of which mirrors the decline of physical-world relationships.
Facebook profiles also have advanced privacy features to restrict content to certain users, such as non-friends or persons on a specific list.
The Wall is the original profile space where Facebook users' content until December 2011 was displayed. It allowed the posting of messages, often short or temporal notes, for the user to see while displaying the time and date the message was written. A user's Wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see his or her full profile, and friends' Wall posts appear in the user's News Feed.
In July 2007, Facebook allowed users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas previously the Wall was limited to text only. In May 2008, the Wall-to-Wall for each profile was limited to only 40 posts. Facebook later allowed users to insert HTML code in boxes attached to the wall via apps like Static FBML which has allowed marketers to track use of their fan pages with Google Analytics.
The concept of tagging in status updates, an attempt to imitate Twitter, began September 14, 2009. This meant putting the name of a user, a brand, an event or a group in a post in such a way that it linked to the wall of the Facebook page being tagged, and made the post appear in news feeds for that page, as well as those of selected friends. This was first done using the "@" symbol followed by the person's name. Later, a numerical ID for the person could be used. Early in 2011, tagging in comments was added.
In addition to postings by other users, the Wall also displayed other events that happened to the user's profile. This included when information was changed, when they changed their profile picture, and when they connected with new people, among other things.
The Wall has been replaced by the Timeline profile layout, which was introduced in December 2011.
Since December 15, 2011, a Timeline is the new virtual space in which all the content of Facebook users is organized and shown. Replacing the Wall, in a Timeline the photos, videos, and posts of any given user are categorized according to the period of time in which they were uploaded or created. Posts and events are displayed along a timeline that runs through the center of the profile, with the option of adding events that occurred prior to the user joining Facebook as well as "hiding" posts. Some experts saw this as a crucial step on the use of social networks. In March 2012, Timeline became available for "Facebook Pages", and by the end of the month, Facebook had forced all Facebook Pages (not Profile pages) to convert to the Timeline layout, against the will of many page admins. Like the Wall, users can set Timeline privacy settings to change who can see their entire profile. Users' friends have the ability to post messages on the user's Timeline. Using Facebook on certain devices, such as iPads, may result in automatic adoption of the Timeline. In August 2012, Profile pages were forced to change to the Timeline layout.
Described by Facebook as a way to "give positive feedback and connect with things you care about", users can "like" content such as status updates, comments, photos, and links posted by friends, pages, groups, and advertisers. The number of likes that posts receive is one factor that Facebook uses to determine what to show in News Feed.
Beginning in April 2010, the "Like button" was also available for use on websites outside Facebook: "When the user clicks the Like button on [a] site, a story appears in the user's friends' News Feed with a link back to [the] website". At the same time when any visitor, including non Facebook members and logged out users, visit a site with the Like Button, their presence on the site is recorded by Facebook.
Because websites with a "Like Button" send IP address information of all visitors to Facebook, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein said in August 2011 that the button breaches German data protection laws and that federal agencies should remove the buttons and similar social plugins from their websites. Canada's Privacy Commissioner raised similar concerns in 2010. "Like" links are vulnerable to likejacking, a form of clickjacking that makes users "Like" content they did not intend to.
An Israeli couple named their child "Like" after the Facebook feature in 2011.
Messages and inbox
Since the website's founding, it has allowed users to send messages to each other. A Facebook user can send a message to any number of his/her friends at a time and also to himself/herself. Deleting a message from one's inbox does not delete it from the inbox of other users, thus disabling a sender to undo a message sent by him or her. Facebook chat can send emojis, pictures, gifs, and also attached files. There are many extensions designed to work with Facebook chat.
In February 2010 Facebook confirmed rumors that it had updated its messaging service to conform with the XMPP, also known as Jabber, messaging standard. This allowed users to log on and view messages using third party chat applications, as well as chat with users on other services such as AIM, or Google Talk. On April 30, 2015 Facebook officially shut down its chat API, which had been deprecated for a year, and restricted logins with XMPP.
Facebook chat also enables videotelephony.
Notifications tell the user that something has been added to his or her profile page. Examples include: a message being shared on the user's wall or a comment on a picture of the user or on a picture that the user has previously commented on. Initially, notifications for events were limited to one per event; these were eventually grouped category wise. For instance, 10 users having liked a user's picture now count for one notification, whereas in the earlier stages, these would have accounted for ten separate notifications. The number of notifications can be changed in the settings section, to a maximum of 99. There is a red notification counter at the top of the page, which if clicked displays the most recent ones.
Facebook Groups can be created by individual users. Groups allow members to post content such as links, media, questions, events, editable documents, and comments on these items.
Groups are used for collaboration and allow discussions, events, and numerous other activities. They are a way of enabling a number of people to come together online to share information and discuss specific subjects. They are increasingly used by clubs, companies and public sector organizations to engage with stakeholders, be they members of the public, employees, members, service users, shareholders or customers. Groups can have three different levels of privacy settings:
- "Open" means both the group, its members and their comments is visible to the public (which includes non-members) but they cannot interact without joining.
- "Closed" means the group and its members are visible to the public but their comments are not visible until the user has joined the group.
- "Secret" means that nothing can be viewed by the public unless a member specifically invites another user to join the group.
Previously, in October 2010, there were version 0 (legacy) and version 1 (current) groups. Version 1 or "new" groups can contain the name of the group in their URL if the email-address of the group is set. Groups do not have a RSS feed to export the wall or the member list, such as Pages or Events have, but third parties provide such service if the group is set to an "open" privacy setting. All groups have since been migrated to a single design.
Facebook events are a way for members to let friends know about upcoming events in their community and to organize social gatherings. Events require an event name, network, host name, event type, start time, location, and a guest list of friends invited. Events can be public or private. Private events cannot be found in searches and are by invitation only. People who have not been invited cannot view a Private event's description, Wall, or photos. They also will not see any Feed stories about the event. When setting up an event the user can choose to allow friends to upload photos or videos. Note that unlike real world events, all events are treated as separate entities (when the reality is some events sit inside other events, going to one event would preclude going to another, and so on).
In February 2011, Facebook began to use the hCalendar microformat to mark up events, and the hCard microformat for the events' venues, enabling the extraction of details to users' own calendar or mapping applications. Third parties facilitate events to be exported from Facebook Pages to the iCalendar-format.
In May 2007, Facebook introduced the Facebook Marketplace allowing users to post free classified ads within the following categories: For Sale, Housing, Jobs, and Other. Ads can be posted in either available or wanted format. The market place is available for all Facebook users and is currently free. In 2009 Facebook transferred ownership of the Marketplace to Oodle. The original Marketplace was shut down in November 2014.
Facebook Notes was introduced on August 22, 2006, a blogging feature that allowed tags and embeddable images. Users were later able to import blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging services.
A use of Notes includes the Internet meme "25 Random Things About Me" which involves writing 25 things about the user that their friends don't already know about them and using the tag function to ask 25 friends to also do so. Nearly 5 million "25 Random Things" notes were written on Facebook profiles in the first week of February 2009.
In November 2010, Facebook announced "Deals", a subset of the Places offering, which allows for users to check in from restaurants, supermarkets, bars, and coffee shops using an app on a mobile device and then be rewarded discounts, coupons, and free merchandise. This feature is marketed as a digital version of a loyalty card or coupon where a customer gets rewarded for loyal buying behavior.
Facebook Places was reported discontinued on August 24, 2011, but was relaunched in November 2014, now including cover images, discovery sections, city/category landing pages, a deeper integration with the Location API, Graph Search queries and user generated content.
The Facebook Platform provides a set of APIs and tools which enable third-party developers to integrate with the "open graph", whether through applications on Facebook.com or external websites and devices. Launched on May 24, 2007, Facebook Platform has evolved from enabling development just on Facebook.com to one also supporting integration across the web and devices.
Facebook Platform Statistics as of May 2010:
- More than one million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries
- More than 550,000 active applications currently on Facebook Platform
- Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications
- More than 250,000 websites have integrated with Facebook Platform
- More than 100 million Facebook users engage with Facebook on external websites every month
Third party companies such as Adonomics, Kontagent, and Mixpanel provide application metrics, and blogs such as AppRate, Inside Facebook, and Face Reviews have sprung up in response to the clamor for Facebook applications. On July 4, 2007, Altura Ventures announced the "Altura 1 Facebook Investment Fund", becoming the world's first Facebook-only venture capital firm.
On August 29, 2007, Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, to give attention to the more engaging applications, following criticism that ranking applications only by the number of people who had installed the application was giving an advantage to the highly viral, yet useless applications. Tech blog Valleywag has criticized Facebook Applications, labeling them a "cornucopia of uselessness". Others have called for limiting third-party applications so the Facebook "user experience" is not degraded.
Primarily attempting to create viral applications is a method that has certainly been employed by numerous Facebook application developers. Stanford University even offered a class in the Fall of 2007, entitled, Computer Science (CS) 377W: "Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook". Numerous applications created by the class were highly successful, and ranked amongst the top Facebook applications, with some achieving over 3.5 million users in a month.
In May 2010, Facebook began testing Questions, which is expected to compete with services such as Yahoo! Answers.
On March 24, 2011, Facebook announced that its new product, Facebook Questions, facilitates short, poll-like answers in addition to long-form responses, and also links directly to relevant items in Facebook's directory of "fan pages".
One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums of photos, tag friends helped by facial recognition technology, and comment on photos. According to Facebook:
- 50+ billion user photos (as of July 2010)
- More than 1.5 petabytes (1.5 million gigabytes) of photo storage used (as of May 2009)
- 220 million photos added each week which take up 25 terabytes of disk space (as of May 2009)
- 3+ billion photo images served to users every day (as of May 2007)
- 550,000+ images served per second during peak traffic windows (as of May 2009)
On April 11, 2011, Facebook launched a new feature for photo tagging: people can tag photos with a brand, product, company or person's Facebook page, similar to the way they tag their friends in photos. In August 2011, Facebook announced that it would be adding a series of photo filters to its mobile application. Facebook plans to unveil nearly a dozen photo filters, which will be similar to Instagram's grainy images. Per last known numbers, today in the world, highest number of photos are hosted at Facebook.
During the time that Facebook released its platform, it also released an application of its own for sharing videos on Facebook. Users can add their videos with the service by uploading video, adding video through Facebook Mobile, and using a webcam recording feature. Additionally, users can "tag" their friends in videos they add much like the way users can tag their friends in photos, except the location of the friend in the video is not displayed. Users also have the option of video messaging. Videos cannot be placed in categories, whereas photos are sorted by albums. Facebook Video can support up to 1080p format and even 4K resolution.
User can now add all the videos in one playlist like that of YouTube. This facility was started in January 2015. Beside this if we have legal Facebook page we can broadcast live through Android phones.
During the same week as its tenth anniversary, Facebook launched the Paper iPhone app. The app consists of two major features: Firstly, Facebook’s News Feed is more graphic, as the app uses technology such as full-screen photos and video footage. Content is organized under headings such as “Creators” and “Planet”; secondly, Paper allows users to post statuses, photos, and “stories” to Facebook that has been described as a different, more presentation-focused design.
Facebook Dynamic Text/Type
In recent months, Facebook made changes to their text-only status update on Timeline. It went through two iterations. At first, there is a 35-character limit where all text-only updates will have a larger text font size. In its second iteration, there are additions to this feature, particularly with multiple text colors and background colors. The 35-character limit has also been changed to a 86-character limit.
Facebook Credits are a virtual currency users can use to buy gifts, and virtual goods in many games and applications on the Facebook platform. As of July 2010, users of Facebook can purchase Facebook credits in Australian Dollars, British Pounds, Canadian Dollars, Chilean peso, Colombian peso, Danish krone, Euro, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Swiss franc, Turkish lira, US Dollars, and Venezuelan Bolivar. Facebook credits can be used on many popular games such as Happy Aquarium, Happy Island, Zoo Paradise, Happy Pets, Hello City, It Girl, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars.
Although like all other website apps Facebook made its presence on the smartphones as mentioned but also is present for the feature phones. As the company said that the feature phones dominate the American cell phone markets hence an app was exclusively made for this purpose as well.
Released in July 2013, Graph Search allows users to search within their network of friends for answers to natural language questions such as, "Movies my friends who like The Hobbit liked" and receive direct answers, rather than the list of websites that search engines usually provide.
According to a June 2010 report by Network World, Facebook said that it was offering "experimental, non-production" support for IPv6, the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol. The news about Facebook's IPv6 support was expected; Facebook told Network World in February 2010, that it planned to support native IPv6 user requests "by the midpoint of this year".
In a presentation at the Google IPv6 Implementors Conference, Facebook's network engineers said it was "easy to make [the] site available on v6". Facebook said it deployed dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 support on its routers, and that it made no changes to its hosts in order to support IPv6. Facebook also said it was supporting an emerging encapsulation mechanism known as Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP), which separates Internet addresses from endpoint identifiers to improve the scalability of IPv6 deployments. "Facebook was the first major Web site on LISP (v4 and v6)", Facebook engineers said during their presentation. Facebook said that using LISP allowed them to deploy IPv6 services quickly with no extra cost. Facebook's IPv6 services are available at www.v6.facebook.com m.v6.facebook.com, www.lisp6.facebook.com and m.lisp6.facebook.com. In addition, Facebook enabled IPv6 on its main domain names during World IPv6 Launch.
Listen with Friends
Listen with Friends allows Facebook users to listen to music and discuss the tunes using Facebook Chat with friends at the same time. Users can also listen in as a group while one friend acts as a DJ. Up to 50 friends can listen to the same song at the same time, and chat about it. Every time a user begins listening to music with a friend, a "story will be posted to her/his friends" ticker and/or news feed. Users will have control over who will be able to see when they are listening with a friend through their App Settings page after installing the compatible music app.
In August 2015, Facebook launched the ability for verified VIP users to broadcast live video streams using the Facebook Mentions app. Streams appear on the News Feed, and users can comment on them in real-time. Live broadcasts are automatically saved as a video post to the streamer's page. The feature was positioned as a competitor to services such as Meerkat and Periscope. Live streaming began to roll out for public use in January 2016, beginning with the Facebook iOS app in the United States. In April 2016, Facebook unveiled a live streaming API, aimed to allow other devices such as professional video cameras and drones to integrate with the live video streaming platform. Facebook also updated its mobile app to provide a dedicated section for showcasing current and recent live broadcasts.
Facebook chat supports numerous emoticons, like (^^^) for a shark. Recently, it has also become possible to post larger, animated images through Facebook's built in emotion system.
- At one time, entering the Konami Code followed by Enter at the home page caused a lensflare-style series of circles to display when clicking, typing, or scrolling.
- Asking "how is babby formed?" with the Questions feature released September 23, 2010, will Rickroll the user.
- A user can change his/her language to Leet Speak, Pirate language, and upside down English.
- Entering @[x:y] resolves a user's name, where x is a positive integer and y is 0 or 1. For example, @[4:0] resolves to "Mark Zuckerberg".
At an event in April 2013, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new Android-based "Home" feature, which would show content from users' Facebook pages on the home page of their mobile phones, without having to open an app.
The poke feature is intended to be a poke gesture (similar to "nudge" in instant messaging) to attract the attention of another user. A previous version of Facebook's FAQ gave additional insight into the origin of the feature, stating:
When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings.— Mark Zuckerberg during a live Facebook webinar
There are several applications on Facebook which extend the idea of the poke feature by allowing users to perform other actions to their friends—such as "kick" or "wave to".
Many smartphones offer access to the Facebook services either through their web browsers or applications. The Facebook iPhone-compatible web site was launched August 2007 and as of July 2008 over 1.5 million people used it regularly, at the point when a free application for the iOS named "Facebook for iPhone" was launched. Version 2.0 of this app was released in September 2008 and featured improved services such as being able to respond to friend requests and notifications. Version 3.0 was released in August 2009 and added features such as events, and uploading video with an iPhone 3GS.
Microsoft developed an application for Facebook on their Windows Phone 7 platform, available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Users can pin elements such as Messages, Events, the News Feed, and Photos directly onto one's homescreen. It also includes tile notifications for events, friend requests, tags, and so on. Windows Mobile platform, including features such as messaging, uploading pictures and video straight from the device, managing profile information, contact integration allowing users to call anyone in their friends list that has their number in their profile information. It is also possible to add a chat feature to Windows Mobile via third-party software such as FIM, available in the Windows Mobile Marketplace. Nokia also offers a Facebook app on its Ovi Store for Nokia S60 devices such as the N97, with most of the functionality of the full website.
Google's Android 2.0 OS automatically includes an official Facebook app. The first device to use this is the Motorola Droid. The app has options to sync Facebook friends with contacts, which adds profile pictures and status updates to the contacts list. Research In Motion also offers a Facebook application for the BlackBerry. Functions include an ability to integrate Facebook events into the BlackBerry calendar, and using Facebook profile pictures for Caller ID.
"Status updates" (also called as a "status") allows users to post messages for their friends to read. In turn, friends can respond with their own comments, as well as clicking the "Like" button. A user's most recent updates appear at the top of their Timeline/Wall and are also noted in the "Recently Updated" section of a user's friend list. Originally, the purpose of the feature was to allow users to inform their friends of their current "status", including feelings, whereabouts, or actions, where Facebook prompted the status update with "Username is"... and users filled in the rest. This feature first became available in September 2006, though on December 13, 2007, the requirement to start a status update with is was removed.
The is updates were followed by the "What are you doing right now?" status update question; in March 2009, the question was changed to "What's on your mind?" In 2009, Facebook added the feature to tag certain friends (or groups, etc.) within one's status update by adding an @ character before their name, turning the friend's name into a link to their profile and including the message on the friend's wall. Tagging has since been updated to recognize friends' names by typing them into a status while a list of friends whose names match the inputted letters appears. A large percentage of the updates that are posted are humorous and as a result, many apps, websites and books have sprung up to help users to update their own.
On September 14, 2011, Facebook launched a Subscribe button. The feature allows users to follow public updates, and these are the people most often broadcasting their ideas. There were major modifications that the site released on September 22, 2011.
In 2011, Facebook launched a ticker that showed all of their friends and pages updates. For example, it shows when their friends comment or like a status, and their status updates as soon as they posted them. If users do not have the chat sidebar open, the ticker appears on Facebook home next to the News Feed. If users do have the chat sidebar open, the ticker appears above the list of friends, and can be re-sized (unless the chat sidebar is open). The ticker cannot be closed, and this has brought up concern among users, especially privacy concerns. However, Facebook has been keen to emphasize that the ticker only shows what people could see before—it just makes it "more discoverable".
On December 14, 2009, Facebook launched its own URL shortener based on FB.me domain name. From that point on, all links based on facebook.com can be accessed through fb.me, which is seven characters shorter.
Starting June 13, 2009, Facebook introduced a feature that allowed users to choose a Facebook username to make user location easier. The user is able to direct others to their page through a simple link such as www.facebook.com/username rather than an otherwise complex URL. This feature on Facebook quickly spread, with more than 1 million users registering usernames in the first three hours. Usernames are now available to any existing or newly registered user.
As reported by TechCrunch on February 15, 2012, Facebook introduced "Verified Account" concept like those of Twitter and Google+. Verified accounts have blue tick mark and such accounts will get more priority in 'Subscription Suggestions' of Facebook. On May 29, 2013, Facebook rolled out verification feature for prominent celebrities and public figures.
Hash tagging Feature
Facebook pages run by businesses can display an impressum to allow the business to comply with several European countries' Internet laws.
Call to action button
Facebook pages run by businesses can display a so-called "call to action button" next to the page's like button. This button allows businesses to link external elements such as their e-store, smartphone app or website.
Facebook will display warnings when users are about to be duped by clickjacking and cross-site scripting attacks in which they think they are following a link to an interesting news story or taking action to see a video and instead end up spamming their friends.
Facebook also offers two-factor authentication called "login approvals", which, if turned on, will require users to enter a code whenever they log into the site from a new or unrecognized device. The code is sent via text message to the user's mobile phone.
Facebook is partnering with the free Web of Trust safe surfing service to give Facebook users more information about the sites they are linking to from the social network. When a user clicks on a potentially malicious link, a warning box will appear that gives more information about why the site might be dangerous. The user can either ignore the warning or go back to the previous page.
In August 2009, Facebook announced the rollout of a "lite" version of the site, optimized for users on slower or intermittent Internet connections. Facebook Lite offered fewer services, excluded most third-party applications and required less bandwidth. A beta version of the slimmed-down interface was released first to invited testers before a broader rollout across users in the United States, Canada, and India. It was announced on April 20, 2010, that support for the "lite" service had ended and that users would be redirected back to the normal, full content, Facebook website. The service was operational for only eight months.
On April 25, 2011, Facebook announced a pilot program called Deals, which offered online coupons and discounts from local businesses. Facebook initially released Deals as a test in five cities—Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco—with the hope of expanding. This new offering was a direct competitor to other social commerce sites such as LivingSocial and Groupon for online coupons and deals-of-the-day. Facebook users were able to use Facebook Credits to purchase vouchers that can be redeemed for real goods and services. Facebook has since closed its deal program.
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