All this week’s Facebook news that’s fit to print

facebook under a magnifying glass

Can’t keep up with the nonstop Facebook news and feature updates? Well we did for you. Here’s this week’s roundup of news you may have missed, including a slew of new Facebook features that may or may not see the light of day in the near future.

Events get invited to the Timeline redesign

facebook timeline update events issue

With so much seamless sharing going on in Facebook, there are bound to be privacy holes that share too much. Europe v. Facebook, a non-profit organization that keeps tabs on Facebook and any of its privacy issues discovered that the Facebook Timeline enabled friends of friends to see a full list of events that users had been invited to. The issue is that updates to the Timeline, which were rolled out starting March 13 to limited users as a test, bypassed the friend-to-friend privacy setting. The consequences were that friends-of-friends were getting a revealing look into the user’s extracurricular activities. Facebook has recognized the problem after Europe v. Facebook reached out to the social network. The issue has since been fixed.

Facebook will roll out reply buttons

huffington post facebook reply feature

Comments are threaded in a way that in long discussions like on brand pages, you can’t tell who’s addressing whom without requiring them to tagging the person you’re trying to reply to. Finally, this is about to change, says TechCrunch. Profiles or brand pages with more than 10,000 followers will get the reply feature, which indents replies in the threaded style that forums have been using since the advent of the Internet. At the same time, Facebook is testing and may also release an algorithm that bumps the best comment threads to the top of the post.

Facebook loosens up cover photo restrictions

TPolamalu promotional cover photo for library cards

Facebook’s policy on cover photos (which very few users has had to worry about anyway) is getting far more lax that it used to be as of March 6, reports Inside Facebook. This includes Facebook removing the ban on calls to action, a user’s contact information, and other self-promotional content you’d probably often find on a banner ad. The only rule that’s going to be enforced is that cover photos with more than 20 percent of it covered in text remain against Facebook’s policy. If Facebook catches you one of its reps will take it down. But with more than 1.1 billion users, odds are you could get away with it for awhile.

Facebook testing mobile notifications to remind you it exists

facebook annoying push notification

Facebook has confirmed with Mashable that it’s testing among limited users a new mobile push notification that asks users to update their status if they haven’t done so in a while. As if we didn’t already have a significant problem with push notifications being wildly abused. 

Facebook is an ego-booster, in a good way

A study by Cornell suggests that taking a look at your Facebook profile after a rough day might do you some good. Facebook works as a “self-affirming” ego-booster. Every time you check out your profile and browse through the friends that have liked and commented on your profile, you’ll be able to weather criticisms knowing that you’re still “loved by a network of friends and family” on Facebook. “”The extraordinary amount of time people spend on Facebook may be a reflection of its ability to satisfy ego needs that are fundamental to the human condition,” lead researcher Jeff Hancock told the Daily News.

Browsing social networks, the study found, doesn’t only apply to Facebook. Hancock suggests that it even applies to online dating. “Perhaps online daters who are anxious about being single or recently divorced may find comfort in the process of composing or reviewing their online profiles, as it allows them to reflect on their core values and identity.”

If it doesn’t go viral in three hours, it never will

Optimal facebook viral engagement graph

The window or timeframe in which a Facebook post would go viral is three hours after posting, says Facebook analytics company Optimal. Specifically 75 percent of the Facebook engagement (likes, comments, shares) happens in that three hour timeframe, while 50 percent of the engagement takes place within an hour. 

Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.

'Pokémon: Let's Go' is a different kind of Pokémon game. Here's how to master it

Pokémon: Let's Go is a mashup of traditional Pokémon RPGs and Pokémon Go. Still, new mechanics will make it feel somewhat new for even seasoned trainers. To help you on your journey to Victory Road, check out these tips and tricks in our…
Social Media

Facebook is rolling out a Messenger ‘unsend’ feature, and here’s how to use it

Facebook is starting to roll out a "remove message" feature for its Messenger app. It lets you delete a message in a thread within 10 minutes of sending it, and replaces it with a note telling recipients that it's been removed.

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Social Media

Going incognito: Here's how to appear offline on Facebook

How do you make sure your friends and family can't see if you're on Facebook, even if you are? Here, we'll show you how to turn off your active status on three different platforms, so you can browse Facebook without anyone knowing.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.