Free Facebook Alerts on your Mobile Phone

January 31st, 2009

Creative Commons License photo: iboy_daniel

Many people probably aren’t aware that they can receive totally free SMS text alerts from Facebook on their mobile phone through Facebook Mobile.

Important: Several visitors from the US have contacted me to say that they are charged for receiving Facebook alerts. Please check with your mobile network first to avoid unexpected charges.

Receiving Facebook Alerts

You’ll need to sign up with Facebook Mobile to receive alerts (alerts are free unless your network or carrier charges you to receive texts). According to Facebook, the supported networks and carriers at present are:

  • USA: AT&T, Boost, Cingular, Helio, Nextel, Sprint, Verizon, Virgin Mobile USA
  • Canada: Bell Mobility, Fido, MTO, Rogers, Sasktel, Solo Mobile, TELUS, Virgin Mobile Canada
  • UK: O2

One of my friends uses Facebook Mobile on a different mobile network which is not listed on this list and I’m told it works. So if your network isn’t on this list, it might work for you but your milage may vary. If you end up getting charged by your network, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Once you have verified your phone number through a confirmation code, you can choose to receive alerts of:

  • Pokes
  • Messages (I chose only to receive alerts of messages from people on my friends list to avoid spammy texts)
  • Comments on your photos and notes
  • Posts on your wall
  • Friend requests
  • Status updates of selected friends (This seems very stalkerish to me. I strongly recommend against using this. I don’t know why you would want to know what one of your friends was doing 24/7 and I don’t think they would you to either).

A Cup of Bokeh, please?
Creative Commons License photo: Shermeee

An option which is probably worth considering is to disable alerts between 10pm at night and 9am in the morning – after all you want to be able to switch off at the end of the day and to get some proper sleep without being interrupted by a Facebook alert.

Note that if you reply to these alerts (e.g. to respond to a message or to confirm a friend request) you will be using the “Facebook Texts” service and may get charged unless you have a free text allowance. More info on Facebook Texts on a later post.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 24 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. salar said:

    ummm how can iget sms alert notification
    on mobile??

  2. prabhakar said:

    im using vodafone in india how can i get facebook alerts on mobile

  3. Bob said:

    yes you too came here cos you are on virgin and cant sign up for facebook texts, tried a text to all 5 and still no return text? whats the problem virgin?? might even go with a new provider,

    1. Mark replied:

      It's Facebook and its preferred partner relationships that stop us Virgin Mobile users getting mobile alerts not Virgin , just think about it, Facebook don't reply to specific networks that they've partnered with! It's Facebook you need to complain to not Virgin!

  4. Ryan tremain said:

    The virgin mobile facebook text notifications needs to be sorted out! every1 is on facebook come on virgin! x

  5. Ron Saffo said:

    I tried also with no luck

  6. Holly said:

    I'm on virgin mobile but fb doesn't have that option. Do you know how I can set it up??

  7. susan said:

    Hi ken
    I have tried to register my phone with fb but every time i send the sms (f) it fails my operator is 3 and I have a nokia 5230 can you help. Facebook was on my phone when I bought it but I cant get the alerts can you please help me.

  8. Linda said:

    I want to receive just messages from a certain someone is that possible?

  9. chelsea said:

    heey im with virgin in australia and i was wondering how do i get the fb mobile txts on my iphone?

    it only has the options of telstra or optus and im with virgin!

    thanks 🙂

  10. hollie said:

    I’m on virgin mobile UK
    but its not on the list..
    can i still get the texts though? please write back 🙂

    1. d3v replied:

      I would like to ask the same thing.
      I found this link because I was wondering if I can choose the T-Mobile option as, technically, Virgin doesn't have its own mobile network infrastructure and uses T-Mobile as its service provider.
      Lycamobile is another one of these sort of "virtual" networks.
      In the UK they use O2 but they have agreements with other providers in other countries and just add their own service layer over the top – so to speak.

      1. d3v replied:

        I tried it and it doesn't work.
        The text you are supposed to send to activate the Facebook sms service just returns an sms summary of your balance, minutes, texts, megabytes remaining on Virgin.

      2. SJ73 replied:

        Not any more they don't they use the everything everywhere network according to wikpedia

  11. Tara said:

    I have iwireless. Is there any way i can get sms even though they are not listed?

  12. msmichele said:

    how do i remove the alerts from my mobile that keep coming up to let me know i have emails. i want to disable that part only.

  13. Amanda said:

    if you don’t have a text messaging plan were you can’t text message people will these facebook alerts be charged on your bill?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      To receive: No in the UK. But I don’t know about other countries… I hear that some US carriers charge you to receive Facebook SMS alerts.

  14. kayla said:

    I have TELUS, and i have free incoming text messages and 250 outgoing messages. im just wondering if i have to facebook would charge me for incoming text messages from facebook text messages. i just wanna know whos writing on my wall and stuff and i dont really plan on sending messages and such

  15. CJ said:

    hey i have virgin mobile USA…
    im wondering if I can go on it for free…?
    i have unlimited texting but no internet…
    does that mean that I can’t go on it…?

    1. jon replied:

      u can go on it but you need credit to connect to the internet its 30p per day on virgin mobile

  16. cameron winfield said:

    hiya , im on virgin mobile in the UK and it isnt listed in the facebook mobile options , how do i get around that ? thanks

  17. Vincent Baloyi said:

    How to unsubscribe to sms alert on facebook?

  18. cantsay said:

    if u have solo mobile and your plan is unlimited text incoming and outgoing does it cost u anything for facebook mobile? thankz in advance ♥♥♥♥

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