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Facebook is “the craze” these days. From kids to moms, everyone is using it to reconnect with old friends, family members and find new people on the web. Some people use it to promote their business, others use it for fun and entertainment.

Chatting with Facebook friends is again another addiction seen among most users. Some people have an overwhelming number of friends and this is where it gets all complicated.

Say you have just began chatting with your girlfriend on Facebook and suddenly some random stranger starts sending instant messages. In case of strangers and people whom you don’t know, you can always ignore the instant message and continue chatting with the person you were chatting with. But the situation gets worse when some close friend starts sating “Hello, how you doing” and you are busy fixing a date with your girlfriend.

You can’t ignore the person in the first place while at the same time, you don’t want to chat with him because you are busy chatting with someone else.

So how do you decide which of the Facebook friends you want to chat? Should you delete the annoying friends or unfriend them? Should you create another Facebook account just for the sake of chatting with specific people? Should you use anonymous chatting rooms ? The are a long list of alternatives to consider.

The good news is that if you want to appear offline to specific friends on Facebook or if you want to ignore instant messages from selected Facebook friends, you don’t need to delete them from your friend list and neither you need to create another Facebook account. All you have to do is create a new Friend list just for the sake of “Chatting” or “Instant Messaging”.

Note: Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Windows live messenger and other chat clients do not yet have this function. You can’t use this same technique with other social networks and Instant messaging providers.

Appear Offline To Specific Facebook Friends

1. Log into your Facebook account and look for the “Friends” link in the left sidebar.

4. You may also take a different approach. Rather than creating an “Offline contacts” list, you can instead create an “online contacts” list. When you start chatting on Facebook, simply turn this list setting as “ON” and keep every other list as “OFF”.

This is recommended if you chat with only a couple of friends or family members. However, if you chat with a large number of friends and want to ignore only a few contacts, go for the earlier option e.g the “Offline list”

6. All done, now open the Facebook chat box placed at the right bottom of your browser and you will see a new list appearing. Here is an example:

If friends from that specific chat list try to send you an IM, they will receive the response

“Your chat message wasn’t sent because Mr. X is offline. (Send as a message)”

If you wan to go the other way and prefer creating an “Online chat” list, simply turn that specific list “ON” while turning “Off” all the other chat lists.

This is a very simple yet effective way to keep your Facebook chat list in shape and do not have to deal with unwanted messages popping up every now and then.

Soumen Halder

Soumen is the founder/author for Ampercent, a tech blog that writes on computer tricks, free online tools & software guides.

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How To Video Chat With Family And Friends On Your Smartphone

Also read: The best video chat apps for Android

How to choose a video chatting app

There are various types of video chatting apps you can download for your Android and iOS phones. However, not all of them are created equally in terms of features and power.

Many factors can influence your decision to use a particular app, such as the number of people you can include, face filters, time limits on video calls, the cost of an app, texting features, video call recording features, etc.

We’ve considered all the factors mentioned above to come up with a list of the 10 best video chat apps you can download on your smartphone to stay in touch with family and friends. You can check each one out in detail below.

Most of these video chat apps allow you to talk to more than one person at a time, and what’s better than a group video call to get the whole gang together?

But before you go on to view our select list of video chatting apps and start talking to people, here are some tips on making the most of your video calls with family and friends.

Make sure you switch to a Wi-Fi network if you’re using cellular data. Wi-Fi connections are generally more stable, and there is less chance of your call getting dropped.

Choose a suitable background from where you plan to make or take video calls. Your surroundings should be well lit so that people on the video chat can see you properly. Make sure the light source is in front of you and not behind you; otherwise, you will look darker, and people on the video chat will not be able to see you clearly.

If you want to have more than one person in the frame for your video call, you can choose to place your phone a little further away, against a stand, or on a tripod. If you don’t have a dedicated phone stand, you could also prop up your device against a heavy object like a paperweight.

See also: Smartphone photography accessories you should consider

Make sure your phone screen is facing you so that you can see all the participants on the video call, and they can see you through your selfie camera. Don’t go too close to the screen. Keep the phone at arm’s length so that your entire face is visible to the other participants.

Ensure there is no background noise. If you have a TV or some music running in the back, switch it off to hear everyone properly and vice versa.

Don’t navigate away from your video chat screen when your call is on. This usually turns your camera off, and others won’t be able to see you. However, if you want to take that bathroom break during a video call, shut the camera and mute the mic (as mentioned in the pointer above) to avoid any potentially embarrassing incidents.

Try to keep your phone steady. It can be very disorienting for other participants on the video chat if your phone shakes too much. Again, you can solve this problem by propping up your phone in one place to avoid shakes and jerks.

Also check out: How to look your best for video calls

The best video chatting apps for your smartphone

Now that you’ve gone through all the tips for a good video chatting experience, please look at our list of the 10 best video chat apps out there.

Editor’s note: We’ve added attributes like difficulty level and call quality for each video chat app mentioned in the list. A “High” difficulty level means the app could be complicated to use. A “Medium” difficulty level corresponds to an app with a slight learning curve. An “Easy” difficulty level means the app is super simple to use for any and everyone. These ratings are for all those readers who may not be very familiar with using video chat apps.

For call quality, we’ve categorized apps as “Good,” “Average,” and “Unreliable.” Ultimately, a lot will depend on your internet connection and that of other participants. While the Good and Average ratings are self-explanatory, an Unreliable rating is for apps in which video quality keeps changing.

Difficulty level: Medium

Call quality: Good

Skype has to be one of the most popular and longest-tenured video-chatting apps. The Microsoft-owned service is entirely free and also lets you send text messages simultaneously while video calling. The mobile Skype applications aren’t as user-friendly as we would have liked them to be, but the platform’s call quality is among the best. Here you can check the minimum and recommended internet speed requirements for making Skype video calls.


Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Difficulty level: High

Call quality: Good

If you didn’t encounter Zoom during the global pandemic, we have to say we’re impressed. The video chatting app became the de facto way to stay in touch, especially in the workplace. You can literally host a small concert from your home for all your friends and family to watch. Participants in a Zoom video call can join from anywhere, including PCs or tablets. The app also lets you share messages, GIFs, videos, Google Drive files, and more with your group.


Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Difficulty level: Easy

Call quality: Average

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging platforms out there, and it also offers the option to video chat. The platform is big on end-to-end privacy, which means no one other than you and the participants can see the video chat. Of course, we all have our concerns with the new privacy policy, but you’ll have to read it yourself.


Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Difficulty level: Easy

Call quality: Unreliable

Difficulty level: Easy

Call quality: Average

Google Duo

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Difficulty level: Easy

Call quality: Good

Google Duo has to be one of the best video calling apps out there. Whether for work or to stay in touch with family and friends, Duo is self-explanatory and straightforward. Its video call quality is also one of the best on the market. It has a Knock Knock feature that lets you see what someone is up to before you answer the video call. Duo allows you to video chat with up to 32 people at a time and share your screen.

See also: Google Duo: How does it compare to Skype, WhatsApp, and other rivals?

Another helpful feature is a low-light filter for when you’re in a dark environment and want better lighting for your video calls. You can also make and receive Duo calls on a Google Home or Nest speaker if you have one in your home.

If you want some help getting started on Google Duo, you can read our detailed guide here.


Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Difficulty level: Easy

Call quality: Good

Apple’s dedicated video chatting platform — FaceTime — lets you place video calls to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The application comes preloaded on most iPhones and lets Apple users reach their contacts using their phone number or Apple ID. Besides video calls, FaceTime also supports voice calls.

See also: Can you get FaceTime for Android?

If any of your friends and family members use Apple devices, FaceTime is one of the best solutions for large group video chats. Additionally, Apple recently made it possible for others to join FaceTime calls using web browsers, which means now Android and Windows users can join the conversation. You can add up to 32 people in a video call using the app, which works over Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Marco Polo

Difficulty level: Medium

Call quality: Good

Marco Polo is not a live video chat app, but it can help you talk to your friends and family through the medium of short videos. Say you are busy in a meeting and can’t get on a video call; your contacts on the app will be able to send you video messages that you can view at your leisure. If you’re the one sending a video message, you can also include emojis and face filters to make your videograms more interesting.

The best part is that there’s no limit on the length of video messages you can send. Messages are stored on the cloud and can be retrieved at any time. Another plus is that the app is ad-free and does not collect user data.


Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Difficulty level: Easy

Call quality: Good

Lastly, there’s Google Hangouts. It may not be as popular a chat app as before, but it still works just fine. A maximum of 25 people can be added to a Google Hangouts video call, while you can have a whopping 150 people in a Hangouts chat. The app doesn’t have any fancy features such as call recording or face filters, but you can connect your Google Voice account with it for phone calls, SMS texting, and voicemail integration.

See also: How to use Google Hangouts

Google also has a more professional alternative for video calls — Google Meet. We didn’t add it to this list because it’s a bit complex for casual conversations with friends and family, but it works too, and there’s a free version.


Of course, the higher the video definition, the better. That said, you also have to keep data usage in mind. Not to mention most video calling services top out at 1080p.

Some apps only work with specific platforms. The simplest example is FaceTime, which is made for Apple devices. Most apps work on most devices, though. You should be able to find most of these services whether you’re using Android or iOS.

It depends. Many of these offer web browser and call-in support. Additionally, some come pre-installed with most devices. For example, You’ll find Hangouts already installed on Android phones. The same applies to FaceTime and Apple handsets.

You may already have an account if you use something like Hangouts, which uses your Google account. You can also avoid creating a new account if the service allows non-subscribers to join calls, such as with Zoom.

How To Hide Telegram Number From Others

Do you want to hide Telegram number from others? Know how to hide your Telegram number in 2023 on Android and iOS.

The instant messaging (IM) app sphere is a crowded one. However, a few apps, like Telegram, stand out due to their features. Telegram needs you to use a phone number for account creation. It calls on that number for verification, though it doesn’t require you to receive it.

It automatically performs the remaining verification process, which might involve sending an SMS. As you can see, these processes need you to have a phone number to set up a Telegram account, just like most messaging apps. So, what makes Telegram different from the rest? It lets you hide your phone number from others.

While using IM apps, we’re often concerned about our privacy. Letting the whole world know your personal number or sharing your phone number for IM communication isn’t something you’d want to happen. To avoid these, you need to know how to hide Telegram number. Read on to know the complete approach with all steps.

How to Hide Telegram Number on Android or iPhone

The default setting of this app makes your phone number visible to your contacts. But it also offers you the option to hide it from others. Follow these steps to know how to hide Telegram number from your Android or iOS app.

Open the Telegram app on your phone.

Tap on the three horizontal lines or the hamburger menu and select Settings.

Choose Privacy and Security.

Tap on Phone Number.

Under “Who can see my phone number,” you’ll see the default selection, My Contacts.

Select Nobody to hide your Telegram number from others.

Once you select this option, Telegram will show you Who can find me by my number?

You can select Everybody or My Contacts, depending on your choice.

When done, tap on the check mark in the top-right corner of the screen.

The new setting will be effective immediately. You can exit the app.

Workarounds to Hide Telegram Number

Since people usually use their personal mobile numbers to register for Telegram accounts, the reason to hide their telegram numbers from the public is not to let people know of their mobile numbers.

If you’ve already opened a Telegram account using your mobile number, you can use the above method to hide your Telegram number. However, there are other techniques that can be used for concealing personal phone numbers.

1. Use Landline Number

Instead of a mobile number, you can use your landline number to sign up for the Telegram account. Thus, you won’t have to share your mobile number with others.

2. Use a Burner SIM

If you’re a privacy-concerned person, you might buy a burner phone with a temporary SIM Card. Use that number to verify Telegram. After some days, that phone number won’t be in use.

3. Use Google Voice or Skype Number

If you’ve access to a Google Voice Phone Number, you can use that to verify your Telegram Account. Also, Skype offers VoIP phone numbers that you can use for the same purpose.

4. Use Anonymous Numbers from Fragment

Telegram also supports anonymous numbers generated on Fragment, a blockchain-based platform where you can bid for phone numbers. After buying your favorite number, you can use that to create a telegram number.

Hiding Telegram Number: FAQs

How Can I Make My Number Invisible on Telegram?

Yes, you can make your number invisible to other Telegram members. Using the native telegram feature “who can see my phone number,” you can hide it from everyone else. Moreover, It’s also possible to sign up for a Telegram account without your real phone number.

Is My Number Visible on Telegram?

By default, your phone number will be visible to your contacts. But you can hide it any time from everyone, including your Telegram contacts.

Can I Use Telegram Without Phone Number?

Yes, you can use Telegram without your original phone number. Now, Telegram offers Anonymous Numbers option for signing up for a Telegram account. For that, you can purchase a blockchain-based identity from the exchange platform Fragment, which is also owned by the telegram owner.


The Telegram app has become popular among people who want to communicate with complete privacy. Unlike many other popular communication apps, it allows you to hide your number from others.

As many users don’t know how to hide Telegram number, I’ve shared the steps here. Following the method, you can retain your privacy and make sure no one has access to your phone number through Telegram.

Curious About What’s In ‘The Facebook Papers’? Read Them For Yourself.

Last year, whistleblower and former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen shared the thousands of pages of internal company documents she obtained with 17 US news outlets, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a separate consortium of European news organizations. 

These documents, called “The Facebook Papers,” formed the basis of reported news articles and analysis about Facebook’s behavior in response to key issues like how its platform might harm children, or play a role in enabling political violence, and how it reportedly prioritizes profit over safety. Redacted versions of these papers with the names of Facebook users and lower-level employees blacked out were also shared with Congress for its investigation. 

However, since these articles were published, academics and smaller media outlets have been arguing that these papers be made available to the wider public for independent study and analysis. Gizmodo, which was one of the outlets that had access to the papers last year, announced in November that it would publish these papers, and said it was partnering with a group of independent experts to review the documents and block out information related to private individuals prior to publishing. 

Today, the first set of these papers are now live on Gizmodo’s site and are categorized by topics such as “Papers About the Jan. 6 Capitol Attack,” “Papers Describing the Election-Related Task Force Monitoring ‘Complex Financial Organizations,’” and “Election-Related Platform and Product Updates.” Outside of the 2023 election, which was the overarching theme of all the papers Gizmodo uploaded today, there are also documents which detail how Meta (Facebook’s parent company) “tackles sensitive issues like sex trafficking, disinformation, and voter manipulation.” 

Look through the internal screenshots, memos, posts, agendas, and research documents from Meta released this week here. Gizmodo will upload a new set of documents on the designated web page every week. 

[Related: The Facebook whistleblower’s Congressional hearing was a ‘big tobacco moment’ for tech]

So what are some high-level takeaways? The Washington Post reported that the papers showed that internal research findings at Facebook often clashed with what Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, told the public. Additionally, Facebook was inconsistent in how it policed harmful content, and failed to do so effectively in most of the world. Lastly, Facebook reportedly designed its product to maximize engagement rather than promote safety or stem misinformation. 

Additionally, according to AP News, these documents also revealed conflicts within Facebook when employees brought up problems related to how it regulated users and how its news feed algorithm surfaced toxic content only for the company to ignore the concerns. Moreover, Facebook was losing much of its young adult users that found the platform to be “boring, misleading and negative,” AP reported. This makes the content ecosystem of Facebook more fragile, as older adults tend to share more misinformation and disinformation. Recently, The Washington Post also found that Facebook was paying a Republican consulting firm to plant false negative stories about its competitor, TikTok. 

Even after a rebrand and a pivot, Facebook, now Meta, is having a rough start to the year. In February, Meta lost more than $200 billion in one day as its stocks plunged. That same month, the company reported that Facebook lost average daily users in the third quarter of 2023. Since then, Meta has been trying to increase transparency into the inner workings of its platforms, starting with Instagram. 

Currently, Meta, along with several other big tech companies, has also been working “round-the-clock” to fact check content from the Russia-Ukraine war, The New York Times reported. These added actions on social and internet platforms have incited discussions around conflict-related content moderation across the world.

How To Download Videos From Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Have you ever wanted to save videos from social media websites? Maybe there’s a Twitter video you want to download, or videos from Facebook or Instagram that you’d like to save? There isn’t a download button on these sites, but there are third-party tools that let you save videos from Instagram and other social networks.

Some of the best video downloaders for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are web apps, meaning that you don’t need to download a program to your computer to use them. Just copy the link to the video you want to save, and then paste it into the video downloader website to get the file (some even let you convert the video to an audio file format).

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Note: Downloading a video from these websites means videos that are actually stored on the site, not linked elsewhere. For example, if a Facebook post has a link to a YouTube video, you can’t use a Facebook video downloader to save it; you’d need a YouTube downloader instead.

Important: You should be aware of copyright laws in your country before downloading videos from Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Just because a video can be downloaded for free doesn’t mean that it’s legal for you to take it.

Download Twitter Videos

There are several ways to download videos from Twitter, but we’ll review a method that uses a website called SaveTweetVid.

Select the arrow next to the Tweet and choose Copy link to Tweet. If you’re already viewing the Tweet that has the video, you can copy the URL shown in the navigation bar of your browser.

Paste the URL into the text box at SaveTweetVid, and press Download.

Tip: If SaveTweetVid doesn’t find the Twitter video you want to download, try a similar site like TWSaver, TwitterVideoDownloader, or DownloadTwitterVideo.

Select one of the download options. You should see download links for various video qualities.

Download Facebook Videos

Facebook has a Save video option, but that’s not what you should use if you want to download a Facebook video. Fortunately, there are several free Facebook video downloaders that you can use to the same effect: to save the video from Facebook to your computer, phone, or tablet.

We’ll use Getfvid for this tutorial, but some other sites that work similarly include Fbdownloader, FBDOWN, and BitDownloader. There are even apps that are built specifically for this, like Video Downloader for Facebook for Android.

Copy the link to the Facebook video by selecting the three-dotted menu and choosing Copy link.

Open Getfvid, paste the link into the text box, and select DOWNLOAD.

Step 3: Select a download option. You can download the Facebook video in HD quality or normal quality, or convert the Facebook video to MP3.

Download Instagram Videos

Just like these other social media video downloaders, saving an Instagram video involves copying the link to the post and then pasting it into a web app. We’re using DownloadGram below, but some others that work too, include Instaview, Downloadinstagramvideos, w3toys, and Savefromweb.

Tip: We also have a guide on how to save full-size Instagram images.

Copy the link to the Instagram video. You can do this by opening the video and copying the URL displayed in the web browser. Another option, which is required if you’re using the Instagram app, is to tap the three-dotted menu button on the post and choose Copy Link.

Paste the link into the text box on DownloadGram, and then select Download followed by Download video.

When prompted to download the video from Instagram, name it something you’ll recognize and choose where to save it.

There are also Instagram video downloader apps that might be easier to use if you’re on a mobile device. InstaSave is one example for Android devices that can download videos and images from Instagram pages.

How To Hide Files And Folders In Windows For Free

There are always some files that you want to keep away from prying eyes. It can be confidential information from work or even something as simple as a school essay. While online privacy is vital, you need to hide your local files and folders in Windows 10 too. 

Windows gives you a few basic ways to hide files and chúng tôi may not sandbag the knowledgeable snoop but the methods can thwart them for a while.  

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Hide Windows 10 Folders with File Explorer

This is a simple method to hide files and folders on Windows 10. It will only work if people around you aren’t tech savvy enough to know how to display file properties.

These files and folders can still show up in a Windows search. To prevent this, select Advanced.

Uncheck the boxes under the Archive and Index attributes section of the Advanced Attributes dialog box. Select OK to exit.

By default, Windows hides many files to prevent any unintentional deletions. But if you have disabled this option in File Explorer then hidden files will show up. To ensure that hidden files stay hidden:

Hide Files and Folders with the Command Line

Get familiar with the Command line in Windows and you can tweak many things under the hood. One of them is the ability to hide and unhide files and folders at will. The attrib command changes file attributes. 

attrib C:UserssaikaOneDriveDesktopSampleFolderSampleFile.txt +s +h

The general format is [Drive:][Path] Filename +s +h.

+s: This parameter sets the file attribute as a system file.

+h: This parameter sets the file attribute as hidden and not visible to the user.

The parameters are not case sensitive. 

To unhide a file or folder, use the attrib command again but just replace the “+” with “-” in front of the “s” and “h” attributes.

You can also hide an entire folder using the attrib command. Just replace the path and the folder name with your own.

attrib C:UserssaikaOneDriveDesktopSampleFolder +s +h  Hide Windows 10 Files with Free Software

FileFriend is a freeware app that is just a 285 KB download. This uncomplicated app gives you a few different tools to work with. To hide a file, use the JPK tab.  First, choose the host JPG file. Then choose the directory or file you want to hide within it. 

Do note that the JPG file should not be in the same directory that you want to hide.

Key features of FileFriend:

Encrypt or decrypt files and directories.

Runs as a standalone executable without installation.

Hide text in a JPEG file, or extract text hidden in a JPEG file.

My Lockbox is a uncomplicated software that hides your files and folders on your local drive. The lightweight software is just 6.9 MB in size and comes in two flavors. The free version allows you to hide one item. On installation, you can skip the option to install the Hide Folders extension that protects files on external drives.

Key features of Hide Folders:

Toggle lock with hotkeys.

Allow trusted apps to access the protected data.

Auto-lock feature which locks a folder after a preset interval or when the laptop lid is closed.

Hide your folder when the folder has “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” enabled in folder options.

Use the software with a variety of skins. 

Wise Folder has two-layered file and folder protection that enhances the security of your information. Set the first app-level password when you launch the program. Then, set another password for each file or folder that you choose to hide.

You can also configure an encrypted space on your hard drive to securely store sensitive files. Uninstalling the program won’t allow anyone to bypass the security as they must enter a password to remove the software from Windows. Wise Folder also works with flash drives.

Wise Folder has a free and paid version. The Pro version gives you unlimited space to set up the encrypted space on your hard drive.

Key features of Wise Folder:

Drag and drop files and folders to hide them.

Hide individual files and folders with different passwords.

Create encrypted lockers to secure files and folders (only 50 MB space in free version).

 Make Important Files Less Obvious to Snoopers

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