Pretty much everyone has a Facebook account. Grandmas, middle schoolers, celebrities, fast food restaurants — you name 'em, and I can say with at least 85% certainty that you'll be able to find them on Facebook. However, maybe you've just emerged from some sort of self-imposed Walden forest isolation scenario and are extremely confused about this whole Facebook business. Or maybe you're just a casual user who wants to know how to better utilize the site so you can get the full Facebook experience. Either way, fear not: we've got you covered.

What's new with Facebook?

Check back here for the latest updates in Facebook news.

November 17, 2017 - Share your talents with Facebook for Creators

Facebook announced yesterday that it has launched what is essentially a new version of Facebook called Facebook for Creators, designed specifically for those who "love making videos to share [their] passion and talents with the rest of the world." It was built to help users who make video content to grow their community and online presence as well as give them more tools to create. There's even a separate app — Facebook Creator — that has all sorts of cool features that will assist you in capturing and sharing videos and interacting with your fans.

Here's what you can do with Facebook Creator:

  • Create and broadcast video: You can create and livestream video directly from Facebook — it's like your one-stop shop for getting your message out there.
  • Personalize your broadcasts: Using the new Creative Kit, users can now amp up their live broadcasts with customizable intros, outros, stickers, and frames.
  • Manage your comments and messages: With Facebook Creator's Community Tab, you can manage all your comments from both Facebook and Instagram as well as all your messages from Messenger in a single unified inbox, making interacting with your fans and moderating your content easier than ever.
  • Keep tabs on your presence: Facebook Creator helps you gain insight into your reach, allowing you easy access to information about your Page, audience, and video performance.
  • Cross-post: After you've filmed a video or broadcast and posted it to your Facebook story, you can then crosspost to other social media like Twitter and Instagram.
  • Get tips and support: Facebook Creator have Learn and Support sections that offer answers to your questions as well as regular tips and tricks to make your content even better. It includes tutorials for things you can incorporate into your work, like 360 video.
  • Explore the content of and get help from other creators: Facebook for Creators is, overall, a community of people who like making things helping one another out and inspiring each other. The Spotlight section of the site and app highlights real creator stories, and the Discover section keeps you abreast of the latest products and creator updates.
  • Get early access to new features: Because Facebook for Creators is so new, Facebook will be testing a ton of new features as it grows to help make it even better. If you join the Creators community, you can be considered to receive early access to new products and services as they arise.

If you're interested in joining Facebook for Creators, you can sign up here.

October 27, 2017 - Celebrate Halloween with Facebook

Today in a blog post, Facebook announced that it's adding a few new on-theme features to help you get into the Halloween spirit:

  • New Effects in Camera, Live and Messenger: Whether you're just broadcasting your Halloween fun with Facebook Live or video calling someone in Facebook Messenger, you can try on dozens of spooky (and cute) masks, frames and stickers.
  • Virtual Haunted House: This is an interactive game you play within Facebook's Camera where you act as a trick 'r treater trying to escape a haunted house by hopping up the walls. You control it by turning your head from side to side to change the direction in which you jump. You do this until you mess up and stumble, a bit like in other endless runner games like Temple Run. After playing, you can share your high score with your FB friends and challenge them to beat your record.
  • Halloween-themed Backgrounds: If you want to share your favorite ghost story to Facebook but think that maybe your newsfeed isn't creepy enough to do it justice, fear not: Facebook has made it so you can now use spooky backgrounds on your text posts. Just choose them from the same menu you would a normal color background option.
  • Event Suggestions: In the Events section of both the app and desktop site Facebook will be sending prompts for Halloween events happening near you, so if you don't already have plans you can still join in on the Halloween fun.

October 20, 2017 - PayPal and Facebook unite to launch peer-to-peer payments in Messenger

Online money transfer service PayPal announced today that they've beat Apple to the punch: consumers in the US will now be able to request, send and receive payments using their PayPal account in Facebook Messenger. Prior to today you could use PayPal to shop on Messenger as well as use Messenger to communicate with other PayPal users, but full integration of PayPal as a source for P2P exchanges in Messenger is the largest expansion of PayPal and Facebook's relationship thusfar.

Here's how to use the new P2P feature:

  1. Open Facebook Messenger.
  2. Select the thread you'd like to exchange money in.
  3. Tap on the blue plus sign icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  4. Select the green Payments button.
  5. Input the amount and what it's for, then select either Request or Pay.
  6. Choose PayPal as your funding source.
  7. Tap Confirm.

Ta-da! You can now go halfsies on that giant fishbowl margarita (and the cab afterward, because safety).

If you get stuck, PayPal also introduced a customer service bot for Messenger so customers can get account information and support without having to leave the app:

This new PayPal bot for Messenger will enable people to have meaningful customer service interactions, such as resetting passwords, handling account inquiries, and helping with refunds or payment issues so we can help you get what you need and get on with your day.

To chat with the bot, search for PayPal in the search bar and send your query in a message. The bot should reply immediately and assist you with your issue.

October 18, 2017 - Broaden your horizons with Facebook's new Explore Feed feature

Today social media giant Facebook confirmed that it's fully rolling out its latest update: a new feed called the "Explore" feed. Previously only available on the mobile app, the feature has now officially found its way onto the desktop site as well. The Explore feed is a news feed separate from your usual one that allows you to discover new content based on your interests and friends that you may not have normally come across.

On desktop, you can navigate to the Explore feed by clicking on it in the left sidebar (where things like Events and Groups are located). If you're having trouble spotting it, its little icon is a red circle containing a tiny rocket ship. On the Facebook app, you can find it by clicking "More" in the main navigation menu.

The Explore feed isn't just a collection of trending Facebook posts. Instead, it's customized for you — it recommends content based on groups you're a part of, pages you've liked, events you've attended and what's currently popular among your particular group of friends. It's aimed to help you find more stuff you might like so you can keep your newsfeed fresh and interesting (and, as a result, stay logged onto the site longer). Whether you want to troll your feed for more content, peep Instagram stories or order food, you never have to close the app.

October 13, 2017 - You can now order food on Facebook for some reason

According to a press release issued by Facebook's press team today, you can now order takeout or delivery from all your favorite restaurants via Facebook. Given that it has been absorbing features from apps like Snapchat and YouTube, it seems that the social media site has really gone all-in on its attempt to make itself a one-stop shop.

Facebook offers the option to order from a ton of delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash and ChowNow as well as restaurants like Denny's, Five Guys and Panera so you don't have to close the Facebook app to get that breakfast-for-dinner you desire. Here's how it works, according to Facebook's announcement:

  1. Go to the "Order Food" section in the Explore menu.
  2. Browse both local and chain food options based on your location.
  3. Select "Start Order" when you've found what you're looking for.
  4. Order your food however you like. If the restaurant you want to order from offers takeout or delivery with multiple services, you can select which service you'd like to use. For example, if you have an account with Delivery.com, you can easily order with your existing login. If you don't have an account with that service, you can quickly and easily sign up without leaving the Facebook app.
  5. Tear into those nighttime pancakes.

The Order Food feature has been in testing since last year, and Facebook has been working on improving it by incorporating feedback it has received from testers regarding functionality and variety. Today it's finally rolling out for iOS, Android and desktop.

October 5, 2017 - Post your Instagram stories directly to Facebook

In 2016, Facebook-owned Instagram added the "Stories" feature - a nearly identical clone of Snapchat's feature of the same name. While it was seen as a bit of a desperate act at the time, people still began flocking to Insta to try it out, and - surprise! - ended up loving it. So much so, in fact, that by springtime 2017, Instagram had added almost as many daily active users to their ranks as Snapchat had in the whole of 2016. In addition, social analytics company Delmodo said in June that engagement with Snapchat stories had declined 50% compared to June of last year.

After that success, Facebook began very pointedly injecting the Stories feature into all of its apps - Facebook in January, WhatsApp in February and Facebook Messenger in March. While WhatsApp didn't fare too badly with approximately 175 million daily users, nobody seemed to be using the Stories feature in the Facebook app. And I mean nobody.

Enter Instagram's new feature: double-posting. After creating a story in Instagram, users can now see the option to post it directly to Facebook. If they choose to do so, the stories appear as a story created within the Facebook app would, with nothing but a little label that says "Instagram" to mark the difference.

The new feature entered testing back in the beginning of September, and is officially rolling out today.

August 10, 2017 - Facebook announces Watch video platform for shows and live video

Facebook has announced a new video platform called Watch. Watch offers a place to find shows, both live and on-demand, with personalized recommendations based on your favorite shows, while a Watchlist keeps you up-to-date on the shows you love already. You'll also be able to comment along with shows, and see an episode's comment as you watch.

Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, you'll find sections like "Most Talked About," which highlights shows that spark conversation, "What's Making People Laugh," which includes shows where many people have used the "Haha" reaction, and "What Friends Are Watching," which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following.

Facebook has already lined up some programming for Watch, including Nas Daily and Kitchen Little. Watch will also feature live sports, such as Major League Baseball's free game of the week. Watch will start rolling out to a limited set of users in the United States, while Facebook plans to bring it to more people "soon."

April 18, 2017 - Apple Music, Spotify to offer Facebook Messenger chat extensions

It will soon be easier to share songs found on Apple Music over Facebook Messenger. As part of its F8 developer conference, Facebook announced that Apple Music will be a partner for its initial wave of chat extensions, which allow you to easily share content from services with fellow Facebook Messenger users.

There aren't yet any details about how exactly the Apple Music extension will work, but it's likely to be similar to Spotify's chat extension. From MacRumors:

Using the Spotify chat extension, users can search and share Spotify songs, albums, and playlists. Song links will play 30 second clips, with users able to tap on a link to open the Spotify app to listen to a full song.

An exact release date for the extension isn't known at this time. To use the extension, you'll tap the '+' button next to Messenger's compose box, then select Apple Music under Extensions.

On the whole, chat extensions seem to bring similar functionality to Messenger that the Messages app received with iOS 10 and Message Apps. In addition to music sharing, there will also be chat extensions for services like Airbnb, Instacart, Quip, and OpenTable.

March 28, 2017 - Facebook launches 24-hour filter and effect app

The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we're also introducing Facebook Stories, which lets you share multiple photos and videos as part of a visual collection atop News Feed. Your friends can view photos or videos your story for 24 hours, and stories won't appear on your Timeline or in News Feed unless you post them there, too. To add to your story, tap on the "Your Story" icon in the Stories bar at the top of News Feed. (Connor Hayes, Product Manager)

Starting today, Facebook is officially rolling out its Snapchat/Intagram Stories rip-off (I mean this in the nicest way possible, I just don't think it's necessary for three key social media apps to be copying each other so flippantly... #TWITTERSTORIES #IMCALLINGITRIGHTNOW).

The new feature, which is simply called Facebook Stories, will allow users to customize their photos and videos with different filters, doodles, effects, text, and more, while simultaneously letting them post to a 24-hour platform where people can view their creations for a whole day.

How do I use Facebook Stories?

The new camera icon will be found in the top-left of your Facebook's main news feed. Just like Instagram, you can also swipe to the right on your news feed to open the camera.

How is it similar to other apps like Snapchat and Instagram?

1) Filters

2) Reactive environments

3) 24-hour lifespan

4) Literally looks identical format-wise to Instagram stories

How is it different from other apps like Snapchat and Instagram?

One ability that is totally unique to Facebook Stories is the possibility to turn your 24-hour photos into Prisma-like works of art (although some may argue that Snapchat has done a filter or two like this before).

We're also partnering with brands to create masks for upcoming movies Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman… Additionally, we're including guest art from visual artists like Douglas Coupland and Hattie Stewart. We'll regularly refresh the creative effects in the camera to give you fun new effects to explore. (Connor Hayes, Product Manager)

Where can I find my story once I've posted it?

At the top of your screen: think Instagram bubble format!

When can I start posting?

According to Facebook, the app update should be rolling out for users today.

What is Facebook?

Facebook is a newsfeed-based social media networking platform used predominantly for sharing general life updates, photos, videos and links with friends. It was first launched in 2004 by creator Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Initially, it was designed as a way for Harvard kids to connect with one another. However, it soon expanded to other universities and beyond, and by 2006, as long as you claimed to be 13 years old you could sign up to become the proud owner of a Facebook account. Currently, Facebook has about 2 billion users.

How does it work?

You can sign up for a Facebook account right on Facebook's homepage. Once you've input your information and confirmed your age, Facebook will prompt you to "Find Your Friends." You can do that by allowing Facebook access to your contacts, or you can skip that step and search for your friends by name. I'd advise fleshing out your profile a bit before you do this so the people you'd like to add as a friend will recognize you. Once you've sufficiently filled in your profile and added some friends, you can start posting photos, text, videos, links and pretty much whatever else your heart desires. You can also choose to post things to your friends' pages (referred to as their "timelines"). When you post to a timeline, whether it be your own or a friend's, whatever you've posted will appear in your friends' news feeds.

What's a news feed?

Facebook describes the news feed best:

[Your] News Feed is the constantly updating list of stories in the middle of your home page. News Feed includes status updates, photos, videos, links, app activity and likes from people, pages and groups that you follow on Facebook.

Facebook chooses what stories to show you in your news feed based on your friends and activity. Ideally, this means that you'll end up seeing more stories about things that interest you from groups and friends you interact with the most. The hotter a particular photo or post in your news feed is (i.e., the more comments and likes it gets), the more likely it is that it'll show up toward the top of your news feed.

Though news feed is roughly chronological, that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll see the newest posts first, so if you feel like you're missing out on something you can adjust your settings to better prioritize the content you want. If you feel the need to do that, you can follow Facebook's tutorial here.

What devices can I use to access Facebook?

Pretty much all of them. Smartphones, desktop computers, tablets — as long as it isn't a single-function calculator, it's a pretty safe bet that you can log onto Facebook with it. Best of all, it's free to use. If you don't have the app yet, you can get it here:

What all can I do on Facebook?

Messenger

Facebook Messenger is Facebook's chat client. Within Messenger, you can organize group chats with your friends, make phone calls, and even play games. To learn more about this feature, check out our separate Facebook Messenger article here.

Events

Planning a party and want to send out invites and get RSVPs back ASAP? Going to a concert and want to find out if any of your friends are going? Events is the section of Facebook that lets you do all of that. You can find out about upcoming events near you, as well as events your friends have created or are attending. Anyone can create an event, and the creator can choose who can see it, who's invited, and whether to make it public or private. Once individuals see an invite to an event, they can choose to say they're attending, they may attend, or they're not attending. That information is then added to the event's page, so the host can plan accordingly and the guests can see who else will be there.

Groups

Think of a group as being like a discussion forum where a collection of people can get together to chat and post about a specific topic or shared interest. There are groups for talking about things like sports teams, organic gardening, horror movies, yoga, RV camping, cartoons, and pretty much anything else you could possibly fathom. Like Events, anyone can create a group and choose whether it's public (anyone can join), closed (you have to ask to join), or secret (anyone can join but they have to be invited by a member). Many people also create groups for their workplace, club or school. If you come across a public group you'd like to join, all you have to do is click the "Join" button next to the group's name.

Pages

Pages are essentially profiles for celebrities and public figures, organizations, and companies. Just like you can on your own Facebook profile, individuals or organizations with pages can share updates, photos, videos and links on their page. However, instead of those things being shared with a list of friends, they're shared with everyone who has "liked" the page (similar to following someone on Twitter). So for instance, if you "like" the LAIKA Studios page, you'll see all of their behind-the-scenes updates in your newsfeed.

Anyone can create a page for themselves or to promote their business, art, or a brand they've created. However, not anyone can make a page willy-nilly for their favorite celeb — only official representatives for a company or public figure can create a page for them. Pages are great for building a following or fanbase for a project, so if you're in a band or the founder of a startup, creating a page is something you should consider.

Marketplace

Marketplace is Facebook's version of Craigslist or eBay. It's where users who are 18 years of age or older can buy and sell items to other users in a kind of virtual garage sale format. In Marketplace, you can view goods by searching specifically for what you want or by just browsing items for sale near you. The seller sets the price of the item, but you can choose to make an offer on it that differs from the seller's price and attempt to haggle a bit. Marketplace has everything from second-hand clothes to antiques to vehicles, and allows you to buy them securely via electronic payment without ever needing to leave Facebook.

Live Audio

If you've ever secretly wished that you were the smooth-talking host of your own late-night radio show, you'll probably enjoy Facebook's live audio feature. This essentially allows anyone to broadcast live radio-like audio shows through their Facebook pages to all of their friends. Listeners who tune in via their news feed will be able to leave comments, reactions and feedback in real time as well as share it with their friends.

To use live audio, you'll need to go to your Facebook homepage if you aren't already there. On top of the box you use to create posts, there should be text that says "Live Video." Click it, and then tap the small microphone icon at the bottom of the preview screen. After that, tap "Go Live." Voilà!

To read more about live audio, check out our article on it here.

Live Video

Similar to live audio, Facebook's live video feature lets you stream a live video broadcast from your Facebook page. People can comment on, react to, and share your video while it's going on, so it's good for things like Q&As where you need to directly interact with your viewers. If you want to punch up your livestream a bit, you can also doodle on your video, add stickers, or select one of Facebook's live video filters.

Local and Town Hall

This is where Facebook attempts to keep you connected to the outer world as much as the inner, more … er … internet-based world.

The Local tab lets you know what's going on around you based on your location, and suggest events for you to attend and places for you to go if you're looking for something to do. Each place has a rating, and if it has a Facebook page you can visit that and check out reviews. It also gives you the option to view the places you and your friends have previously visited.

Town Hall gets you in touch with your local government officials. You can contact them and follow their pages as well as view voting reminders for elections in your area. You can also add a constituent badge so you can identify yourself as living in a certain elected official's district.

Questions?

Still have some Facebook questions you desperately need answered? Let us know what you need in the comments below and we'll do our best to help you out!