5 Facebook secrets you should know

The number is simply astounding: In the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had more than 1.7 billion active monthly users. And it’s a safe bet that many of them don’t know these five secrets.

1. Erase your search history

Maybe you were just mildly curious, but the evidence is still there. If you’ve ever looked up an ex, this will show up in your Facebook search history. So will any groups, photos, posts and anything else you’ve tried to find.

Fortunately, you can erase your Facebook search history. To do this, log in your Facebook account, click on the upside-down triangle in the top-right corner, and click Activity Log. That’s where Facebook tracks your actions on the site.

In the left column of the Activity Log, under “Photos, Likes and Comments,” click More. Then scroll down and click the “Search” link.

You’ll see a list of your Facebook searches, organized by date. You can clear searches individually by clicking the crossed-circle icon on the right and selecting Delete. You’ll be asked to verify that you’d like to take this action. Once you click Remove Post, the search will be deleted from your history.

To clear every search without sifting through years of individual entries, click the “Clear Searches” link located at the top-right of the list.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t let you completely turn off its search history feature. You’ll have to remember to do this every now and then.

2. Play chess

You’ve seen those Facebook game requests for Candy Crush and Farmville, but did you know there’s a way to challenge your friends to a game of chess? It’s fun! You have to try it.

The game is played in Facebook Messenger. Start by choosing the friend you’d like to challenge. Open a new message, or insert the game into a conversation you already have going. Type “@fbchess play” to get started.

When you type “@fbchess play”, a chessboard will be inserted into your conversation feed. Typically, whoever initiates the game will be assigned the color white and will have the first move.

Although the gameplay isn’t as simple as some online chess games, it’s still easy to move your pieces around the board. At the bottom and top of the board, you’ll see the letters A through H assigned to the grid. On the right and left sides of the board, you’ll see the numbers 1 through 8.

To move, just combine the letters and numbers with a piece command. Typing “@fbchess Pe4”, for example, will move your pawn to square E4. A list of more advanced commands, such as moving your bishops and knights, can be found by typing “@fbchess help”. And, if you ever happen to make a mistake, you can correct it by typing “@fbchess undo”.

3. Check other messages folder

Facebook is designed to help you keep in touch, but that doesn’t mean all your messages get through. In fact, some messages are actually tucked into a special folder you probably didn’t know existed.

Messages are stashed in this folder when they’re sent from someone who’s not on your Friends list. Facebook flags these messages as spam, even though it’s possible that you know the sender. Old friends, for example, could be reaching out to you. I recently mentioned this folder on my national radio show, and a few weeks later a listener told me that she checked the folder and found an email from her birth mother!

You’ll find this folder in the Messenger app on your smartphone. Tap the Me icon in the bottom right-hand corner, then tap People. Once there, look for the option for Message Requests, and then a link that says, “See filtered requests.”

You can also access these messages when you’re logged into the Facebook site.

4. See who’s ignoring your friend requests

At one point or another, maybe you wonder who has ignored your Friend requests. To see which Friend requests are still pending, log in to your Facebook account and click the Friends icon at the top of the page. From there, select See All Friends, then Friend Requests, then View Sent Requests.

If you wish to cancel the friend request, hover over “Friend Request Sent” and select Cancel Request.

5. Download your whole Facebook history

When you consider how much of your life is shared on Facebook, it makes you wonder what else you can do with all of that information. The good news is there’s actually a way to archive everything you’ve ever shared on Facebook, including the things you’ve deleted.

To do this, open your Facebook Settings and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” There, you’ll see a button that says “Start My Archive.”

Once you begin your archive, you’ll be asked to confirm your password. Another email will be sent once your download is complete. It will contain a link that will allow you to download a Zip file that contains the data from your Facebook history.