Facebook is a wonderland of social connections, but it’s not all rainbows and puppies. Sometimes Facebook can drive you bonkers. Here are three common annoyances and how to handle them.
1. Stop auto-play videos with sound
You may have bumped into one of Facebook’s newest annoyances recently. Auto-play videos have been featured in your news feed for a while. You scroll down and they start to play with the sound muted. In February, Facebook introduced a new twist that automatically turns on the audio along with the video: “With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life,” Facebook notes.
The feature is still in the roll-out phase, so you may not have encountered it yet, but you don’t have to live in fear of jarring noises coming from your Facebook page. For starters, sound won’t override your phone’s silent mode setting, so it won’t interrupt a business meeting or a library visit. To turn auto-sound off entirely, open your settings and choose “Videos.” From here, you can switch off the “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound” option and enjoy the blissful quiet as you scroll through the latest posts.
2. Prune your news feed
You might love your friends and family, but that doesn’t mean you have to love everything they post on Facebook. It’s not just political disagreements that can drive you nutty. You may be tired of copy-and-paste status updates, or you’re simply not interested in your cousin sharing post after post from the same news page.
Unfriending someone entirely is an option, but it’s not necessary. When you see a post you’re not thrilled about, click on the little v-shaped downward-pointing icon in the upper right-hand corner. This opens up some handy options. You can hide the post, in which case Facebook will strive to show you fewer posts like that. You can unfollow the person who shared it while still staying friends. If the post is shared from another page, you will see a “Hide all from…” option that simply stops posts from that particular page from appearing in your news feed.
3. Shut down nosey apps
It’s easy to collect apps and games on Facebook without giving it much thought. Those apps may sometimes send you unwanted notifications or requests. Apps may also be able to access information like your friends list, personal data or email address. It’s worth taking a few minutes to scope out your app collection from time to time and clean out any residents that have overstayed their Facebook welcome.
Head into your settings and choose “Apps.” When you hover your mouse over a particular app, you will see a pencil-shaped icon. Click on this to see exactly what information the app can access. You might be surprised at what you find. Does that shopping site app really need to know your relationship status? You can uncheck the circle if you no longer want to share that specific information with the app.
Tip within a tip: While in your Facebook settings, it’s a good idea to boost up your security.
You’re not obligated to let apps hang around, either. There’s a “remove app” option, or you can hit the “X” icon when you hover over the app’s name in the main list. Not all apps are a nuisance. You might value Facebook notices about package deliveries or updates from your favorite music artist.
You can also turn off game requests from friends and game status updates from within the app’s settings. Look for the “Game and App Notifications” section, click “edit,” and turn off the notifications to free yourself from those old Farmville alerts.
Bonus: Avoid Facebook’s Messenger app on your phone
Last year, Facebook put its foot down with mobile users and tried to force them to download and use its Messenger app in order to access the network’s chat features. There’s a workaround that involves accessing Facebook through your mobile phone’s web browser.
We will use the mobile Chrome browser as an example. Go to the Facebook website. When you click on the messaging icon at the top, Facebook gives you a notice reading “Install Messenger to view your messages.” The quickest way around this is to summon up the desktop computer version of Facebook on your phone. Select the options (three dots in the corner) and choose “Request desktop site.” This loads the full site, allowing you to access your messages just as if you were using a laptop or other full-size computer.
The Messenger app does have some features you might find desirable, like floating Chat Heads notifications and fancier messaging features that are available on the website, but occasional Facebook chat users might not find that compelling enough. Accessing the desktop site on your small mobile screen might not be the most elegant solution, but it works and you avoid having to use an extra app you don’t want on your phone.