Mentioning friends and tagging them in photos is something Facebook users are well versed in. It’s how Facebook lets you personalize the updates you share, helping you organize and share photos more easily, and also ensuring that the people in question get to see the update by getting notified about being tagged or mentioned. Both the mentioning and tagging features are purely functional, but there’s a little fun feature in Facebook chat that lets you use Facebook profile pictures as emoticons. The emotions, used as such do nothing more than adding a tiny version of the user’s profile image into the conversation. The user whose image is used is not notified that someone was talking about them, the image doesn’t serve as a link to the user’s profile, and it certainly doesn’t give you a shorter way to invite them into the conversation or spam them with notifications.
To use either a friend’s or a brand page’s profile image as an emoticon in your chat message, you need to first know their Facebook ID. This ID can be found by visiting the page/profile and looking at the address bar. A user’s Facebook ID is what follows after the Facebook domain. In the screenshot below, it is ‘fatiwahab’. Ignore the question mark and everything else that follows. In some cases, you will find that users don’t have a custom link like the one shown below. Instead, you will see the domain is followed by the URL structure profile.php?id=[a really long number]. In those cases, it’s this number that you will use – only the number, nothing before or after it.
Next, open a chat window on Facebook and type the profile ID between square brackets as shown below. When you hit enter, that user’s profile image will be added as the smallest of thumbnails to the conversation.
This works only on the web and should you open the same conversation on your phone in the Facebook app, you will just see the code that you wrote, instead of the emoticon. You can, however, write the same code from the mobile app and it will show the shrunken version of the image when your friend views it on the web. Like we said earlier, there’s no actual functionality behind this; it’s just an easy way to refer to a friend or a brand you might be talking about, but even as a method of referencing, it falls short because it doesn’t link to user profiles.