How to use Facebook – everything you need to know

If the Star Wars movies were all about social networks fighting it out, Facebook would be the Galactic Empire, with Mark Zuckerberg as the Sith Lord. In other words, Facebook is enormous and has the financial resources to swallow scrappy little potential rivals or squash them with their Death Star laser and swat away any pesky nuisances like politicians trying to regulate them.

But there’s a good reason Facebook has got to this position – despite many people leaving the site due to privacy concerns, many more people love using the platform. With almost three billion monthly active users, Facebook is bigger than some countries and has swayed presidential elections and divided families more than ever at the Thanksgiving dinner table. If you want in on the Facebook action or want to improve your Facebooking skills, we’ve compiled a list of all of our major coverage over the last year or so, or on how to use Facebook.

Read more: 10 best third-party Facebook apps for Android

What is Facebook, and how does it work?

Facebook stock photo 15

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re active on the internet, you’ll already know what Facebook is. With three billion monthly active users, Facebook is not exactly an unknown quantity hiding away in a dark corner. However, here is a potted summary for all the older people (parents, grandparents, etc) who may not be so knowledgeable.

Facebook is an online social network – the biggest, in fact – with YouTube in hot pursuit in second place. It can also be seen as a search engine for finding people. Anybody can create a free profile, business page, or group, and invite others to “follow” their page or “friend” them. If you’re looking for people from your life in the past, and they’re under the age of 50, they are most likely to have a Facebook presence. So Facebook is good for looking up old school friends and ex-partners, and finding out if the school bully is now flipping burgers or cleaning toilets for a living.

Scandals and data breaches

Facebook encourages people to document their whole life on the site with status updates, photos, location check-ins, logging into other websites with the Facebook ID, sharing links, and much more. This has led to Facebook’s astronomical finances as they use this information to serve you “relevant ads” and sell your information to the highest bidders. It has also led to spectacular scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica data breach. These scandals have led to increased Congressional oversight in Washington DC, with many politicians calling for Facebook to be broken up.

facebook meta keynote zuckerberg

Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and all three platforms were recently brought together under the rebranded Meta.

How do I start an account on Facebook?

facebook front page

Mark O’Neill / Android Authority

If you’re one of the three billion who doesn’t already have a Facebook account and want to get one, it’s very easy to get started. Go to facebook.com, click the green Create New Account button, and enter your details. Facebook officially prohibits fake names and fake details, but on the other hand, you’re not required to provide any formal identification. Bear in mind that your friends and family can’t find you on Facebook if you call yourself Mickey Mouse or Jessica Rabbit.

changing name on facebook
setting up facebook profile picture

Once the account is set up, it’s time to start dressing up your profile. If you click on the camera icon in the profile image area, you can upload your Facebook profile picture. You can also upload a cover image to go above it. This will go a long way towards people accepting your friend requests because they will now be able to recognize you.

Edit Facebook profile

Now click Edit profile and enter as many details as you feel comfortable revealing. If you want some public information and some kept private, you can choose the privacy levels for each piece of information by clicking the globe icon next to it. However, remember that Facebook can still see private information! Only people outside Facebook can’t see private information.

Finding and adding friends

facebook add friend

Once you’ve got your profile set up, you can start looking for your family, friends, and colleagues. After all, Facebook is pointless if you don’t have a network to talk to. It’s straightforward to find and add friends on Facebook, and you don’t have to worry if you send friend requests to the wrong people. You can easily unfriend them again and forget all about them.

If you decide you don’t want anyone outside your circle of Facebook friends to know who your other friends are, you can easily hide the list.

How do I start posting on Facebook?

facebook create new post

Once you have your account set up and your contacts watching your page, you can start adding updates. There are several y0u can choose from, using the icons at the bottom of the Create post window.

  • An image. This can be anything from a standard JPG to a GIF image.
  • Tagging another Facebook user in the update (if they’re involved in what you’re talking about, or if you want to get their attention).
  • An emotion. You can express how you’re feeling or say what you’re doing right now.
  • Geotagging. You can “check-in” and tell people where you are. However, you may want to double-check your privacy settings for this one, as making check-ins public is a good tool for burglars looking for empty houses whose owners are out.
  • Host a Q&A. You can invite people to ask you questions.
  • Life event. If something important in your life happens (a wedding, an anniversary, etc.), you can designate it as a “life event.”
  • Live video. Want to stream your own show, interview, or publicize something? Then Live video is what you’re looking for.
  • Raise money. When posting to your Facebook profile or page, you can nominate a charity and invite people to donate to it.

Further update options

Whatever type of update you choose to do on your Facebook page, you have various options once the update has been published. You can turn off the comments if things are getting a bit out of control (but only on a page, not a profile.) You can change the privacy settings to make the update more shareable. Finally, if you want to give the update more exposure and prominence, you can pin it to the top of your page.

facebook pinned post

What is Facebook Messenger?

How can I use Facebook for my business?

Android Authority Facebook page

Together with Instagram and WhatsApp, the combined Meta platform has been known to make and break businesses, and has created a whole new career – social media management.

social media meme

Help! Facebook is not working!

wifi icon on mobile phone

Like any moving part, Facebook has the potential to go a bit wobbly sometimes and break down. Granted, it doesn’t happen that often, but if you hear any desperate wailing out in the universe, most people probably can’t share their lunch because Facebook is down.

However, it may be a simple case of clearing the cache and logging out and back in again. If that doesn’t work, try this list of troubleshooting tips to see if you can regain access before your lunch gets cold. If you still have no joy, it’s entirely possible you’ve been hacked, so time to flex those muscles and get your account back – if you can.

How can I take a break from Facebook?

man on a hammock

How do I unblock someone on Facebook?

It’s very easy to unblock someone on Facebook. It’s a simple matter of going into the account settings and clicking on the person’s name to remove them from the block list.

Does Facebook have a dark mode?

How do I link my Facebook and Instagram accounts together?

Since Facebook and Instagram belong to the same company, you can link both accounts together, and use both from the Meta Business Manager page. For time-strapped businesses on both platforms, using both on the same page is a huge timesaver.

How can I do a reverse image search on Facebook?

If you want to search for someone or something on Facebook, you can do a reverse image search if you have a picture already.

How do I clean up my Facebook profile and get rid of embarrassing posts?

When you’re young, those hilarious pictures of you sitting on the keg beer and getting drunk looked hilarious. But now, as you’re getting older, and employers are increasingly checking job applicants’ social media, it may be time to purge those awkward moments.

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