What is Facebook

Facebook is a social networking service that allows users to create a profile. Facebook users post to their profile to share photos and status updates. To build their social network, users add friends allowing them to see, post to, and comment on friends’ Facebook activities. A Facebook feed is a user’s personalized news reel of updates and commentary from their friends’ profiles and other Facebook activity.

A Facebook Glossary

Term Explanation
Post To post on Facebook is to write and share something. Posts can share words (ideas, comments, reflections), links, photographs, videos, or gifs. The posts you write are seen by friends. The posts authored by others are seen in your Facebook feed.
Share When you see a post authored by another user that you’d like to share with others you can ‘share’ it to send it out to your own friends. A shared Facebook post acknowledges the original author while sharing it on your profile.
Like To like a post is to give a thumbs up, a recognition of appreciation or enjoyment for a post.
React While liking shows that you enjoyed a post, a reaction allows you to express other emotions on a post (love, haha (laugh), wow, sad, angry)
Friend/Unfriend  Friends are others on Facebook who have approved your friendship. By ‘friending’ someone on Facebook, you grant each other the ability to follow one another (see and interact with each other’s profile). Unfriending a friend removes such privileges between two people.
Message  A message is the private side of Facebook. Direct messages can be sent between two or more Facebook users for a private conversation.

When you poke a friend they receive a notification that you’ve poked them, and is intended as a way to show that friend that you are thinking about them. There is a popular belief that a poke is something of a flirtatious action.

What is the purpose of Facebook

As a social networking service, Facebook allows friends to connect and interact online through posts about their lives. Facebook is often used to share content related to ideas, politics, entertainment, social events, etc. through news articles, memes, commentary, and more. Facebook is also frequently used to spread the word about and invite people to social events.

How to use Facebook

Facebook began as a tool for facilitating social integration across university campuses. It continues to be regularly used by students to be social and connect in their university life - keeping up with old friends, planning social events, and making social connections with others. While most frequently used for social reasons, students sometimes use Facebook for informal learning purposes (i.e. collaborating on group projects, connecting with university structures such as a department or student organization, etc.). However, Madge et al. (2014) found that most students were not overly keen on the idea of more formal educational applications of Facebook (i.e. required communication or participation).

Given the above considerations, here are some ideas for using Facebook in teaching and learning:

  • Create a Facebook Group page for your course to support social and informal interaction between learners.
  • Create an Event page for a social event associated with your course
  • If your course has a group work component, suggest that groups might form their own private Facebook group to stay in touch with one another outside of class
  • Offer updates on Departmental activities, social events, and key dates through Facebook

Where to find Support

This tool is not centrally supported

Help and Documentation

For help, please refer to the Facebook documentation

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 3 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 3 stars


Facebook can be scaled to accommodate any size class with the flexibility to create smaller sub-groups or communities of practice

Ease of use rating:3 stars

Ease of Use

Facebook has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and personalize

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

Facebook’s Help Centre offers a variety of mediums for technical support, which is readily available and aids users in troubleshooting tasks or solving problems experienced

Hypermediality rating: 3 stars


The tool allows users to communicate through different channels (audio, visual, textual) and allows for non-sequential, flexible/adaptive engagement with material

Accessibility overall rating: 3 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 3 stars

AODA Friendly

Facebook fully supports compliance with AODA standards for accessibility (W3C WCAG 2.0 Standards), and makes it easy for materials to be made AODA-friendly. See Facebook Accessibility

User Foused Participation rating: 3 stars

User-focused participation

Facebook is designed to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities, thereby widening opportunities for participation in learning

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of Facebook does not require equipment other than a computer and access to the internet

Technical overall rating: 1 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 1 stars

OWL Integration

Facebook can only be offered in OWL through a link or static representations of the tool (i.e. PDF), rather than a functional version of the tool itself

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize Facebook with any standard, up-to-date operating system (i.e. Windows 10, Apple OSX, etc.)

Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Users can effectively utilize Facebook with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 etc.)

Additional Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

Users can effectively utilize Facebook without any browser extensions or downloaded software

Mobile Design overall rating: 2 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

Facebook is fully functional with a range of electronic mobile devices (laptops, tablets, touchscreens, mobile devices, etc.)

Mobile Functionality rating: 3 stars

Mobile Functionality

There is little to no functional difference between the mobile app and Facebook for web

Offline Access rating: 2 star

Offline Access

Facebook’s mobile app can be used offline but tools and content are affected. Facebook saves your feed while you are connected to the internet. When offline you can see all of the saved posts, but you will not receive new posts until you are reconnected to the internet. While disconnected, there is some negative effect on content (i.e. videos, gifs). Posts can be authored and saved while offline; Facebook automatically publishes authored posts once reconnected.

Usage and account set up overall rating: 1 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 1 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

All users (instructors and students) must create an external account or additional login. Facebook collects your profile and activity data and uses it in such ways as targeted advertising, marketing communications, and sharing with user-approved third-party integrations. The user is able to control what posted content is visible to other users.

Cost of Use rating:  3 stars

Cost of Use

All aspects of Facebook can be used free of charge

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 2 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

There are limitations to archiving, saving, or importing/exporting content or activity data. Post history is saved in Facebook but there is little affordance for exporting data.

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 2 star

Data Privacy and Ownership

Facebook does not allow posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights and issues can be reported. See about intellectual property

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 3 stars


Facebook has the capacity to support a community of learning through both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users

User Accountability rating: 2 stars

User Accountability

Instructors cannot control student anonymity but the tool provides various solutions for holding students accountable for their actions. For example, event and group administrators may delete posts made by others. See Community Standards.

Diffusion rating: 3 star


Facebook is widely known and popular, it’s likely that most students are familiar with the tool and have basic technical competence with it

Instructor Presence overall rating: 3 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


Facebook has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement

Customization rating: 3 stars


Facebook is adaptable to its environment: easily customized to suit the classroom context and targeted learning outcomes

Learning Analytics rating: na stars

Learning Analytics

As a social media tool, Facebook is not intended to provide learning analytics on student engagement with the tool.

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 2 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

Facebook may enable functional improvement to engagement in targeted cognitive task(s), particularly conversational or collaborative tasks

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Facebook may engage students in higher order thinking skills (given significant consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor)

Feedback on Learning rating:2 stars

Feedback on Learning

Opportunities for receiving formative feedback on learning are available, but infrequent or limited (i.e. poor opportunities for tracking performance, monitoring improvement, testing knowledge on a regular basis)

Security and Privacy

This tool has not been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Security and Privacy Flags


  • Users are required to create and use a non-Western account. It is highly recommended that users do not use the same username and password that is in use at Western.

Information Collection

  • Application collects information that could identify the user specifically (email address, class schedule, etc..)
  • Application collects detailed information that is personal in orientation (eg: health information, family information, etc...)
  • Application collects information that is confidential (physical address, drivers licence number, health card number, social insurance number)
  • This application may use profile information and/or provided data for marketing purposes


  • Acceptance of the Application's Terms of Conditions or End User License Agreement may bind the institution to an agreement thereby requiring legal counsel to review the application contract.
  • EULA is complex and difficult to understand


  • This application is hosted outside of Canada


  • Users of this application forfeit ownership and/or copyright of intellectual property


  • The default setting of this application is to share user’s content publicly
  • The user does not have control over what, when and how material is made public

Last Updated: January 22, 2020


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