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2/15/2012

Tap into Facebook’s hidden features to fi nd friends and browse securely


Are you a Facebook ninja, craving faster access to your social media fi x? If so, you’ll be pleased to learn you can navigate the site with your keyboard. Browse to your profile in Google Chrome, then try combinations of the [Alt] key with number keys 6-9. Pressing [Alt]+[6] takes you to your account settings. [Alt]+[7] allows you to tweak your privacy settings. If you need help in a hurry, [Alt]+[?] will get you there, while [Alt]+[M] takes you to your Facebook messages. If you’re using Firefox, add [Shift] to the key combo to make it work. Using Facebook is, of course, all about connecting with people.

The site’s search tools are more powerful than you might realize – partly because Facebook
suggests results. There could be other, better results lurking in that list you can’t see. For example, if you’re looking for a friend, try searching for known email addresses instead of their name. Facebook has patchy support for boolean search operators. For example it supports the ‘|’ symbol, but not ‘OR’. The results are the same though. Search for two items and Facebook returns data on both. You can fi lter search results by selecting categories from the navigation on the left once a set of results has been returned.

Finished adding friends on a public computer? Hope you remembered to log out, but if you didn’t, Facebook can take care of that. Log in when you get home and go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Account settings > Security’. Click ‘Edit’ next to ‘Active sessions’. You’ll see a list of Facebook sessions you logged into, but failed to log out of. Any of those can be closed.
To add an extra layer of security, you can restrict Facebook so you can only log in from designated machines. Firstly, in ‘Security’, click ‘Edit’ next to ‘Security notifications’. Tick the box so you receive an email alerting you any time someone logs in to your account. The next time you attempt a log in from a diff erent device, you’ll get an email and you’ll be asked to give that device a name. It enables you to track who logs into your account and when much more eff ectively. Finally, here’s a tip from social media scholar Danah Boyd. She observed how some Facebook users deactivate their account every time they log out. Because

Facebook simply suspends the account rather than deleting it, you can reactivate it when you log back in. The point? It enables you to protect your data – and prevent others from posting on your wall while you’re away, sending you messages, or interacting with you. That’s a bit drastic in our opinion, but it certainly thwarts would-be stalkers and data miners.

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