The news that Facebook will remove your synced photos for good if you don’t install the Moments app has left lots of people understandably miffed.
This latest decision from Facebook isn’t the first in the tech giant’s history to raise eyebrows. Social-media addicts may also remember being encouraged to download the Messenger app after it became impossible to use the service through a standard mobile internet browser.
With these past changes in mind, we’ve looked at five controversial Facebook features that affect your life online, from automated videos to faceprints.
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No Moments, no pictures
In just a couple of weeks, the fate of the pictures you’ve uploaded to Facebook will be decided, and whether or not those images stay or go depends on you downloading the Moments app.
Released last year, Moments promises an easier way to upload pictures in bulk, aiming to make the process of sending photos to friends and receiving them super speedy.
Facebook says that if you haven’t logged into the Moments app by 7 July, past pictures that you privately uploaded to your “Synced” or “Synced from Phone” albums will be removed forever. The rest of your pictures are safe, however. The clock is ticking.
Facebook has your faceprint
Every time you put a picture of yourself on Facebook, you’re helping the website’s profiling system learn more about your appearance.
It’s sometimes easy to forget just how much Facebook knows about you, and some users might not be too happy knowing that their geometric profile is saved online. Even so, it is possible to adjust Facebook’s facial-recognition features.
After logging into your Facebook account on desktop, click the down arrow at the top-right corner of your screen. Hit Settings, and then Timeline and Tagging. From here, you can control how tagging suggestions are managed and who sees things on your timeline.
The only way is Messenger
To push more people to its dedicated app, Facebook now prevents you from chatting in real time to friends unless you’re using Messenger.
If you’re logged into Facebook on a mobile web browser, tapping the messaging icon brings up a warning that says: ‘Your conversations are moving to Messenger. Soon, you’ll only be able to view your messages from Messenger.’
If you’re not willing to download Messenger, you’ll have no way of talking to your Facebook contacts in real time on your mobile device. Of course, you could contact friends and family through other messaging apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, but the beauty of Facebook is that so many people already have an account and use it regularly.
Videos that play automatically
From cats leaping into bins to Euro 2016 highlights, videos have livened up our timelines and broken the monotony of regular status updates.
But Facebook’s default setting to start playing them automatically is far from ideal. If you have a slow-running computer or a lot of browser windows already open, these videos can leave you suffering frustrating lags. And if you’re on your Facebook app away from a wi-fi connection, streaming these videos can eat into your precious data allowance, potentially leading to an unpleasant surprise on your next bill.
Again, this is easy to remedy. From your computer, click the down arrow in the top right of your Facebook window and go to Settings. Select Videos from the left list and use the dropdown menu next to Auto-play Videos to change your settings. Using the Facebook app on your phone or tablet? Open the app and tap the three horizontal lines on the top-right corner of your screen. Scroll down and tap App Settings, then Video Auto-play and choose your preferred option.
Unless you go out of your way to turn the feature off, Facebook will monitor your online activity and show you adverts based on what you’ve been looking at.
If you don’t like the idea of Facebook keeping tabs on you in this way, you can turn these targeted adverts off completely.
To manage your preferences, log into your Facebook account on desktop and click the down arrow at the top-right corner of your computer screen. Hit Settings, and then Ads. On this page, it’s possible to turn off adverts that appear based on your internet use. You can also decide whether Facebook ad preferences can be used to display content away from the main site.