A couple of days ago, I wrote a post on why Facebook will never charge you (read here), emphasizing that you, the user, is the center of their business model. Case in point are the new updates coming soon to Facebook that are focused on engaging users and making Facebook the center of your online identity.

“It’s all about encouraging people to make more connections and spend more time and that translates into advertising,” Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis, told CNBC by phone.

The new Facebook features are in beta mode with a small number of users in the U.K. and California with a full roll out coming soon.
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Seven-Second Looping Video Profile Pics

Facebook has a lot of really cool updates that are solely focused on keeping users engaged. Videos are one of the many hot trends on Facebook and the UX team has found a way to capitalize on that to integrate it into the user experience.

Very soon, users will be able to upload short video clips (seven seconds, to be exact) that continuously loop as their profile picture.

“On News Feed and profiles, we’re seeing people create and view more videos than ever before,” Facebook product managers, Aigerim Shorman and Tony Hsieh, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Profile videos will let show a part of yourself you couldn’t before, and add a new dimension to your profile.”

Temporary Profile Pics

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Many of us used the rainbow effect to show our support for the LGBT community in support of the right to gay marriage a few months back (26M people took advantage of this functionality). That was a test on Facebook’s behalf to test how interested users would be in supporting various causes and it was a HUGE success. Users can set a temporary profile picture that will revert back to their previous profile picture on a specified date. This will allow users to support their favorite teams, events, etc. Facebook provides tools to easily filter your profile pic. With the roll out, Facebook will add photo editing tools (already available to iPhone users by clicking the magic wand icon when uploading a photo) to help users highlight what their photo is about.

 Add Personal Info Above Your Profile

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In a move that looks like Facebook is trying to compete, in some ways with LinkedIn, users will be able to customize their profile to showcase personal information (e.g., work history, education, location) at the top including a “featured photos” section that allows users to pin up to five of their favorite photos near the top of their page.

Additionally, Facebook is adding in-line privacy controls allowing users to create a new 100-character bio field in the “About” section which will prompt users to keep this information more up to date. But there is another reason Facebook is doing this…it is critical to powering Facebook’s advertising engine.

Mobile Updates

Users profile pictures will now show in the center of the screen, making the platform more mobile-centric. It will make the profile pic larger and details on friends and photos will have their own big sections pinned directly below the profile pic above the timeline.

Other Things You Can Do on Facebook

Initiate a video call with a friend by clicking on that users profile and selecting the video icon in the lower right hand side of their cover photo.

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Block app invites, pages, and event invites.

Choose whose news you want to see first.

Need to log in from a public computer? Facebook lets you request a temporary one by texting “otp” to 32665. You’ll get an eight-character passcode that works for the next 20 minutes and cannot be reused.

Make your account more secure (computer only) by going to https://www.facebook.com/help/securitycheckup on your computer.

Receive email from your Facebook email address. You can email me at kevanlee@facebook.com, and the message will come straight to my regular Gmail account. The same goes for you and your Facebook profile. Your Facebook email is your username on Facebook, plus @facebook.com.

Download everything you’ve ever done on Facebook. Go to your settings page, and click the “Download Facebook data” option at the bottom of the settings.

Share files via Facebook chat. When you’ve got an open chat window, click on the gear icon and choose the “Add Files…” option.

Change your Facebook language to Pirate or Upside Down. From your settings page, go to Language and choose your weird language of preference.

Visit facebook.com/us for a timeline with your significant other.Facebook collects all the images and moments you share together into a nice little memento based on who you’re “in a relationship with.”

Use various Facebook emoticons in your posts.