blog

An assortment of thoughts.  Mostly tech related.

Let Skype be Skype: Removing your Facebook contacts from Skype

As many will attest, the interface for Skype has worsened over the years - thanks in part to Microsoft's influence, and it has lost a lot of the simplicity that once was.

A big issue for me was when I regrettably linked my Skype account with Facebook and ended up with this enormous mixed up list of contacts from both worlds.  Skype would unnecessarily chirp up, as would all of the other devices I have in range, when Facebook friends would message me, and it just seemed out of place.  While it is possible to select from the options across the top to show All, Online, Facebook and just Skype contacts, it would invariably default to a view that wasn't what I was after, and it didn't eliminate the duplicated interruptions.

Enough was enough.  I just wanted Skype to be Skype.  So, today I ditched the Facebook contacts and have uncomplicated Skype - at least the Contacts view.

How do I remove Facebook contacts from Skype?

I expected this to be readily apparent. It should be, right?  A simple toggle switch somewhere in the Skype Mac client preferences?

Nope.  Nothing to be found anywhere in the Mac preferences.  Search Skype's built-in Help? Nada.

Googling finds lots of frustrated users looking for solutions to the same problem, and so here's how you do it.  It's far from difficult, you just need to know where to look.

Note: These instructions are superficially for a Mac, as that's what I use, but the pointers here will help those on Windows too.

The steps

1. From the File menu in Skype, choose My Account - this takes you to the Skype website.

For me, this process ALSO logged me in in to my Skype account, but you may be prompted for your Skype username and password.  Enter your credentials to log in.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the profile screen and under Account Details > Settings and Preferences, choose Account Settings

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3. From the Account Settings page, you'll see the following, showing that your Facebook account is linked to Skype.  Click Unlink to stop that.

4. You'll get a warning about what you're about to do.  Agree and you'll get a confirmation that the Facebook account has been unlinked.

5. Quit and restart your Skype client and when it starts back up, your Facebook friends (within Skype at least) are no more.

I'm in Australia. Why is Facebook Graph Search not working?

Are you in Australia (or at least outside of the US) and struggling to get the Facebook Graph Search to work?   It turns out we don't speak the right language...

For those that are unfamiliar, Facebook Graph Search is an incredibly powerful search capability that allows you to perform complex searches tapping into the enormous wealth of info that Facebook knows about us all.

While Graph was recently crippled (removing some of it's more advanced features) it's still a tool that social media marketers, businesses and individuals should be aware of.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Graph:

Facebook Graph Search was a semantic search engine that was introduced by Facebook in March 2013. It was designed to give answers to user natural language queries rather than a list of links.[1] The Graph Search feature combined the big data acquired from its over one billion users and external data into a search engine providing user-specific search results. In a presentation headed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it was announced that the Graph Search algorithm finds information from within a user’s network of friends.
— http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook_Graph_Search

Why don't we see Facebook Graph Search in Australia?

In Australia, we have (by default) a very limited search facility - yes, the simple search field at the top right of Facebook - it's great for finding pages and people, but that's about it.  Graph Search allows much finer grain searching. 

We DON'T have access to the full Graph Search, BUT it's a simple switch to turn it on, and it's perhaps not what you might expect you need to do.

Facebook Graph Search relies on a particular taxonomy and vocabulary and as a result, you need to be 'speaking' English (US) to it. In Australia, our language settings default to English (UK) and that's not what we want.

How can I tell if Facebook Graph Search is switched on?

Take a look at the Search bar of Facebook when logged in on a desktop browser.  If you see this:

You have Facebook Graph Search enabled, but if you see this:

...you don't, but here's how to easily fix it:

How to enable Facebook Graph Search in Australia

1. While logged in, click the small disclosure triangle in the top right of any Facebook page.

2. Choose Settings from the dropdown menu that appears:

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3. You'll see the following screen.  Click the Edit button alongside Language and choose English (US) from the dropdown that appears.

4. Your Settings will then update to reflect your changes:

Note: Changing the Language preference ALSO changes the Temperature preference at the same time. I switch that straight back to Celsius despite having no recollection of EVER having seen temperatures used anywhere across Facebook...!

5. And you're done.  You should now see your Facebook Search bar looking like this:

As a quick test, do a search for the following to find all businesses/pages that are based in your area:

Pages in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Note: For your location, be sure to spell out your town/city AND state or territory else you'll get mixed results.

Here I've done that search and the selected the Pages tab at the top of the results:

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So what ELSE it can it do?

Lots. And far more than we can cover here, but as a teaser, try these few examples for starters:

My friends that like <insert business/page name>

or :

Friends of my friends that like <insert business/page name>

or even :

Pages liked by people that like <insert business/page name>

or how about :

Restaurants that my friends like

Can you now feel the potential power that this thing wields?

Wrap up (or TL;DR)

So, if you're outside of the USA and your Facebook Graph Search isn't showing up or simply speak non-US English, just switch to English (US) and have a play. It's a minor discomfort using English (US), but the enhanced search is more than worth it.   Once enabled in your Facebook Settings, it also becomes available through Facebook on your iOS (and likely Android) devices.

What do you think?  Leave a comment about how YOU plan to use Facebook Graph Search in your business below.