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Tips and tricks to fix Facebook

Alleviate common problems on the social network

If you like Facebook but don't like the way it handles privacy and annoying applications, here are some simple fixes.

Searching your wall history
Facebook has been around long enough that its members' accounts can be years old. The content that you can aggregate in that time is difficult to sift through without any search functions.

The fix: Download your profile
In October, Facebook unveiled a new feature: the ability to download your entire profile, including wall, photos, events, friends list, messages and more. Just go to your account settings and choose 'Download Your Information'. Facebook will begin compiling your data and will e-mail you when the archive is ready for download.

Once that information is stored locally, you can search it using any tool you want, from your web browser's 'Find' function to Apple's Spotlight.

Simplistic chat
Facebook has a rudimentary chat system that lets friends talk to each other in real time within Facebook's interface. But this feature offers few ways to sort your friends list, switch among multiple chats or log conversations. Chat windows also obscure the Facebook page, unless you dedicate a separate tab or window to chatting.

The fix: Use a chat client
Facebook chat is powered by the Jabber protocol and is compatible with any third-party chat program that supports Jabber, including iChat, Adium and Pidgin. Follow Facebook's instructions to configure your software accordingly, and you'll be chatting away in a familiar and fluid environment.

A lost address book
Your mobile phone, laptop or other device in which you maintain all your contacts has been lost or stolen, and you don't have a backup. How do you recollect everyone's phone numbers without spamming them with a request to provide you with data they've already given you once before?

The fix: Use Facebook's phonebook
A little-known feature of Facebook lists all your Facebook friends and their phone numbers, assuming they have included that information in their public profiles. Just go to your 'Phonebook'.

Whatever you do, don't participate in a public listing of your data. For some reason, some Facebook users create groups called 'I lost my mobile phone and need your number!' then invite their friends to join and write their numbers on the group's wall. Doing so creates a public and uncontrolled database to which anyone, not just the group's admin, has access.

Even if your friends are more discreet and only put out the call in their status, that still means that every one of their friends, who may not be your friends, will be able to see your personal data.

NEXT PAGE: Problems that don't have a fix

  1. Alleviate common problems on the social network
  2. Too many applications
  3. Showing your friends list
  4. Searching your wall history
  5. Problems that don't have a fix
  6. The ultimate fix


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