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facebook symbolsHave you ever noticed how many little Facebook symbols are scattered throughout the Facebook landscape? There has to be a Facebook team in some back cubicle at headquarters just thinking up what little image Facebook could offer next.

Whatever the reason for so many little images, the one thing it can do is cause a bit of confusion for newcomers. While many of the tiny icons are self-explanatory, for many people that are not only new to Facebook, but new to computers overall – some of these images are a real mystery.


In the past, here at MUO, we’ve helped new users navigate through Facebook. Steve offered How Does Facebook Work? The Nuts and Bolts [Technology Explained] How Does Facebook Work? The Nuts and Bolts [Technology Explained] Read More a nuts-and-bolts explanation of Facebook, and I described how you could customize your account with MyStuff Customise Your Facebook Profile With MyStuff Customise Your Facebook Profile With MyStuff Read More , or add Facebook widgets How To Add Facebook Widgets & Buttons To Your Website How To Add Facebook Widgets & Buttons To Your Website Read More to your own website. But today, I’m going to put together a quick reference guide that you can use when one of those little Facebook icons really has you stumped.

Simple Facebook Symbols

I’ve separated all of these Facebook Symbols into two groups – the common icons most people recognize, and then the obscure ones. Most of you should recognize the first one, especially if you’re a fan on MUO’s Facebook fan page.

facebook symbols and meanings Fast becoming one of the most recognizable images both inside and outside of Facebook – this is the famous “like” icon. Like a status update, quote, link, image or anything else? Click this image and let everyone know.
symbols on facebook At the top of your Facebook home page, you’ll notice three dark icons. The image of earth represents your notification list of all of the latest updates related to your Facebook activity.
symbols on facebook Click on this little conversation bubble icon, and you’ll see a dropdown box displaying the latest Facebook messages you’ve received.
symbols on facebook Finally, the last image at the top of the home page is the “Friend Request” icon. Click on this, and if you have any new friend requests, they’ll show up in a drop-down box.

The following icons are well known by most Facebook users, so I won’t waste much time on them. Basically, from left to right you’ve got photos, videos, events and links.

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Click on any one of these icons to add that type of content to your wall.

The last of the common Facebook images is the “edit” icon. Any time you see this image at the upper right of a block of text or a column, that means that you can edit that particular area.

Obscure Facebook Symbols

The next batch of Facebook symbols are well known to regular Facebook users, but may not be quite as recognizable to brand new users. How many of these do you recognize?

The “lock” icon is a relatively new one. It basically allows you to customize the privacy of specific Facebook content on a case by case basis.

All you do is select the lock before you post an update, and identify what group of friends (or everyone) may have permission to see the update. I offered more details on how to use this feature on an MUO Facebook privacy How To Keep Your Private Facebook Info Safe From Not So Close Facebook Friends How To Keep Your Private Facebook Info Safe From Not So Close Facebook Friends Read More article.

Next up is this little box with a green plus sign. This one isn’t entirely obvious, but it’s actually the link to create your own Facebook group.
Looking for that elusive app that you heard about from a friend? Click on the applications icon, and you’ll see current app requests, your apps, and applications that your friends have installed.
This one should be fairly obvious – it’s how you get to Facebook game requests, a list of your installed games, and a list of your friends’ installed games.

The chatbox at the lower right corner of your screen is a useful way to communicate with Facebook friends when you’re both online. The status images at the left are usually displayed next to your friend’s name.

The icon tells you whether your friend is logged into Facebook and active, whether they’ve gone idle or whether they’re logged out. The green bar is displayed next to friend “groups.”

If you see the little “gear” icon next to any app, column or area of Facebook, then it means that you can configure the settings for that feature by clicking on it.
This icon will take you to the polls page, where you can answer a poll question and have the results posted to your wall.
This icon will take you to your “groups” page that displays all of the groups you’re a member of.
facebook symbols and meanings This animated image, appearing either black or blue, slides back and forth like the lights on the front of the car named “Kitt” in the hit 80’s show “Night Rider”. Except, in this case all it means is that Facebook is processing your request.
facebook symbols and meanings This icon is the “Causes” link to your page of causes. As I previously described Facebook Causes - Raise Funds and Support What Matters Facebook Causes - Raise Funds and Support What Matters Read More here at MUO, Facebook causes lets you support things you believe in right from Facebook.
facebook symbols Finally, this little purple marker on a map is the image for Facebook Places, which Tim previously covered How To Tweak Your Facebook Places Security Settings How To Tweak Your Facebook Places Security Settings Read More . Facebook Places is a cool new feature where you can make Facebook more location-based.

Did this guide help you identify any new Facebook icons that you never knew about? Do you know of any other strange or obscure icons that aren’t on this list? Share your insight in the comments section below.

  1. Anita
    December 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    On a FB PM I sent early this morning to my daughter and a friend: I'm waiting for a response. I click on the messages drop down on the top bar. Next to their two names, I see what looks like a head/shoulders outline (somewhat resembles a bell shape, but not totally), with a little squiggle on the left & right. I've never seen this on other communication with my daughter, am curious as to what it means.

  2. Rita
    December 7, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    When setting privacy for a post, there are two Family icons. What is the difference between them? One is a silhouette of a house, the other is a person.

  3. nidnoi
    December 4, 2016 at 7:31 am

    thanks, ryan your explanations help me to understand how to use facebook.

  4. Greg
    November 10, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    On some profiles where it shows the 6 random friends sometimes a few of the have a silhouette with a plus on the bottom right corner of the pic... Any idea what it is or means... Thank you in advance

  5. Greg
    November 8, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    When you look at someone else's profile it shows 6 random friends... Some of them never change and they a have a silhouette with a plus sign next to each pic that never changes any idea what it means

  6. Joy wright-evans
    October 23, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    What happens When some friends are shown then disappear and others are shown on the page?

  7. Joy
    October 23, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    What does the boy shape next to a friends name mean. It is on some but not all.

  8. KellyAnne
    October 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I recently posted that I was in a relationship with somebody and it shows us as in a relationship with my name and then his name and then underneath of that is the date and next to that is an icon of the face of a clock and then another icon world symbol which I know means that the public can see it does anybody know what the little clock face means it looks like this ... ?

  9. Cynth
    July 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Why does the red dot on the blue house not go away when I touch it? It appears I have not new messages.

  10. Leta
    June 28, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    A friend's answer in Comments is a number. Like 3 or 4. What's that mean?

  11. Margaret
    June 11, 2016 at 2:18 am

    There is a blue house icon with a red circle wit a two on it. What does it mean?

    • Ryan Dube
      June 11, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Those are just notifications of new posts.

  12. Tobi Meyers
    April 18, 2016 at 11:49 am

    What is the black "x" across where I comment and post?

  13. susan dixey
    April 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    What is the little number next to Home. I click on it & it disappears but nothing happens

  14. Cheryl
    March 14, 2016 at 4:05 am

    What is the tiny blue head and shoulders with a tiny box icon that is in front of the time someone posts something in notifications?

  15. Terry
    February 1, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    what does the boy looking symbol next to someone's name on my buddy list mean? tks

  16. Liz
    January 27, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Hi Judith, did you ever find out what the clock was?

  17. Michelle l Line
    January 23, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    When I search for someone on the facebook search bar there is a clock. What does that mean?

  18. Douglas
    January 9, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    SUNFLOWER ICONS IN NOTIFICATIONS. I am getting Notifications from srangers, one a day, in some strange middle eastern or indian langage. Every one is a recipe for some dish i have no ide what. It is like I somehow got subscribed to a middle eastern cooking recipe site or something. I tried to stop getting the posts and stop allowing posts from that person but it shows up from completely different people every day. It looks like legit recipe sharing notifications with comments all in this strange langauge but I would never have subscribed to it. The notifications all show an icon for comment, like whatever so I noticed this was a sunflower so thought it might help me track down the type of notification at least so maybe I can figure out the source and uh subscribed or turn it off.

  19. Judith Brooke
    November 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    When I'm in my FB timeline, I go to the FB search bar and key in Southern Alberta Artisans. The drop down shows two possibilities. But one of those two is an icon that is like a clock. It does not take me to the timeline of the intended FB page. What is this icon? And why?
    Judith

  20. Sara Mouser (lilhunnie143)
    October 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    How do you know if your message has been forwarded is there a icon for that? ? I do if that is forward icon cause I've been writing a friend and there is a icon like that help please so know what to say or not say

    • Sara Mouser (lilhunnie143)
      October 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      What about messenger icons I do what they mean can some one help

    • Kevin poston
      May 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      I also have received messages that have the light blue envelope with a up arrow attatched to side of message... when u click on it it ask who u would like to forward messahe too? But only some of the message I receive have it ? Can anyone explain what that icon means when received on a one on one personal message??? Thanks for any feedback from

  21. Chris Letts
    September 26, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    what about the icons next to the list of people for 'chat' ?
    I'm still not clear what these mean

    • Ryan Dube
      September 26, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Chris - as far as I can tell those are their profile images. Is that what you're referring to?

      • Chris Letts
        September 27, 2015 at 7:30 am

        No - I meant far right of screen next to their image and name there are little icons that say 7m, 11h, or sometimes a green dot and sometimes nothing at all.

        I think I've worked it out that the 7m/11h is minutes or hours since last logged on, and the green dot means they're currently logged on, although I don't think people ever seem to reply immediately when they're showing a green dot.

  22. Sweetk
    May 9, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    On my activity log search keeps come in up sayin "" what's that mean ? Plz

  23. claudy
    April 30, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    in activity log what does the little green man with a wifi symbol mean?
    I can't find an explanation or it.
    Can anyone help please?

  24. Andrea
    April 23, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    What is a picture of a shadow man with a plus mark on it? (Not like the one pictured above). It's on the user's status and when I clicked it, it turned green and had a check mark???

  25. HeidiAnn Geiger
    April 17, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    This is helpful, but there are new ones popping up all the time... :/
    Can you please tell me what these mean?
    ????
    ?
    Thanks. :)

    • Ep
      September 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

      It means "confused look"

  26. Kriste
    April 13, 2015 at 2:45 am

    So I just tried to put a Facebook friend on my favorites list and when I typed it in a red negative appeared to the left of the name and I can't click on the name there are also some lines in blue to the far right
    What does this mean?

  27. christopher corrigan
    March 25, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    What does a thin blue line next to my comment mean..I try to tell the truth and facebook i guess don't like and did erase one of my comments..Do any one else see this and they say nudity isn't allowed I something see so much of it..I thought i was on the hard porn page...Why does that happen so often...

  28. Anonymous
    February 18, 2015 at 4:01 am

    What does the phone symbol & minutes next to friends tell us ? Is that how much time since they were 'on' FB ?

  29. anonymous24
    January 18, 2015 at 1:28 am

    What does an empty square mean when someone puts it on the end of a line?

  30. Anonymous
    December 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm
  31. Abid
    November 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Thank's u very much, this really god to me.., maybe still newbe of me..., Thanks again.

  32. The Wireless
    November 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I never thought about this but it's true, I really didn't know what most of them meant... this is going to be a good topic to consistently update.

  33. Ryan
    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Here's one for you: I've got my page switched to a different language (Leet Speak) and right next to the chat bar, it's got a globe with a number and percent sign. I have always wondered what the percentage is supposed to mean?

    • Ryan Dube
      November 4, 2010 at 11:46 pm

      Okay...you've stumped me on that one. Hopefully there are other readers that use that as well and could offer some insight.

    • Robert Ely
      November 5, 2010 at 2:50 am

      The percentage is of the completeness of the translation.

  34. Tech Maish
    November 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Rayan thanks for sharing these. A lot of icons are totally new to me.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 4, 2010 at 11:46 pm

      Glad to hear it was helpful!

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