Seven hidden, superuseful Facebook features

Get the scoop on seven little-known Facebook features that will take your social networking addiction to the next level.

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content
Sharon Profis is a vice president of content.
Sharon Profis
3 min read

Sharon Vaknin/CNET

We're all Facebook pros. With the average user spending 8 hours per month on the insanely addictive social network, it's no surprise we're quick to pick up Facebook's incessant changes and updates.

In the mess of Facebook's perpetual construction zone, you might have missed some hidden, key features that make using the service that much easier. Most of these tricks were gathered over time, and have now become a part of my regular Facebook routine.

1. Sign in with your username (unique URL).
Instead of typing out your entire e-mail address each time you sign in, use your username (the one that leads people to your profile, like facebook.com/sharonvak) instead. Even if your info is auto-filled, this trick will save a hassle when you're prompted to sign in on your mobile device or public computers.

2. Remove events without declining.
One day it was there, and the next, it was gone. For the longest time, Facebook offered a "Remove from events" link at the bottom of every event page, so that you could delete the event from your invites without rudely declining.

Now, that option is hidden. To remove an event without declining, find your name in the guest list (left), hover over it, and click the x. Click Okay to confirm. The organizer won't be notified of your action.

3. Use the Favorites list.

Use the little-known Favorites feature for quick access to your most frequented lists and groups. Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET
Facebook has a little-known feature that lets you bookmark your favorite apps, pages, and groups from the home page. It's the list on the left of the News Feed, just below your profile picture. Find out how to use the feature here.

4. Rearrange your Timeline modules.
The four boxes below your cover photo can customized to your liking. Click the arrow with the number (on the right) to expand all your apps. Then, hover over a box, click the pencil, and you'll see an option to swap the box with something else, or remove it entirely. For more tips on customizing your Timeline profile, click here.

5. Hover over photo thumbnails to zoom.
This feature isn't built in to Facebook, but after months of using it, it sure feels like it. Facebook Photo Zoom, a free browser extension, enlarges thumbnails and photos when you mouse over them. It's super useful when browsing through the News Feed and you want to see what a photo looks like without clicking the thumbnail and prompting a new page.

Here's the Chrome extension, and a similar one for Firefox.

6. Check your Other messages.
You might have hundreds of unread messages that Facebook has filed in your Other inbox. Find out where it is and how to manage it.

7. Prevent tagged posts from automatically displaying on your Timeline.
Friends. They mean well, but sometimes cross the line when tagging you in a post or photo you'd rather not make public to your friend list. Thankfully, Facebook gives you the option to approve tagged posts before they go live on your Timeline and in the News Feed for all your friends and family to see.

Go to Account > Privacy Settings and select Edit settings next to "How tags work." Then hit Edit next to Profile Review and you'll be prompted to turn on the settings. Now, every time someone tags you in a status, photo, or place, you'll receive a notification and will be asked to approve the tag.

Check out this blog for more Facebook privacy tweaks.