Facebook’s secret iOS features you may never get to use

Facebook on an iPhone home screen drawing focus to the Facebook app and the accompanying Messenger app. March 23, 2014

Facebook developers are always tinkering away behind the scenes on new features. Most of them never see the light of day, but it’s always interesting to see what they’re working on. Today, we got to take a sneak peek.

Our sources tell us that, while legitimate, many of these features will never see the light of day — or they’ll release as a completely different animal than what it started as. So take these features with a grain of salt. Also, these are all for the iOS version of the app.

Sponsored posts

The FCC has been hitting Instagram hard over sponsored content. Most sponsored posts leave a lot to be desired when it comes to making the ‘sponsored’ part clearly. Facebook seems it’s taking this head-on by providing a section to “Add sponsor” for posts that are paid endorsements or advertisements.

From the “Tag sponsors” page:

Does this post feature a third-party brand or product? If so, you must tag the associated Page. See policy [link].

Pages that you tag in your post will be notified. They will be able to view your post’s metrics and use it to create an advert. If you promote this post, the tagged Page will be able to see the advert spend and its CPM metrics.

To use the new feature, you’ll add the URL of the Facebook page (or tag it). Once posted, Facebook clearly marks the post as sponsored and links to the Page of the company paying for it.

QR codes

In the recurring trend of Facebook “borrowing” from Snapchat, it’s working on a QR code generator that allows you to scan your friends’ codes to add them.

Messenger already has this, but it seems the team is working to bring it to Facebook proper in the coming weeks/months.

WiFi nearby

A new feature (that I’m told probably won’t see the light of day for a while) will notify you to switch from LTE to WiFi if you’re near an open network (or one that you have a saved password for).

There are a handful of additional updates, like additional trending topics (plus a link to view more trending stories), GIF improvements and private replies (and comments), but these are the ones that we were able to independently verify through multiple channels at Facebook.

That said, it’s quite possible that some of these are months away, although it’s just as likely you’ll see them next time you update Facebook’s iOS app. To put it simply, we really don’t know if or when these will see the light of day, but we’ve confirmed that Facebook is indeed working on them.