Facebook Messenger offers a number of ways to keep in touch with friends all around the world. You can call them for free using the voice or video options, group chat with people, or simply use the instant chat feature at the heart of the Messenger app.
That’s all great, but what about when you’re contacted and not in a position to start a conversation? Facebook has already shown them that their message has been read.
We explain a few ways to read your Facebook messages without the sender knowing.
Read Facebook messages on your phone without sender knowing
When you send a message on Facebook Messenger you’ll see a blue circle with a tick inside appear next to it. Then, if the recipient opens it, this will disappear. That’s how you know it’s been read. Facebook doesn’t have a setting that allows you turn off the read receipts the sender receives when you open up a message from them, but there are workarounds that can give you some control over this feature.
The most effective way of stopping read receipts is to prevent the app itself talking to the internet. To do this you just need to use Airplane mode. When you want to read the message but don’t want the sender to know the first thing to do is turn on the mode.
On Android this is found in the settings menu you drag down from the top of the screen, or from the Settings app itself where it might be called Flight mode.
iPhone users can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and then tap the airplane icon on the left hand side.
With Airplane mode engaged you can now open the Messenger app, read the messages, and the sender won’t know you’ve seen them. Close the app, turn Airplane mode off and you’re free to carry on as you were.
Read Facebook messages on your PC or laptop without sender knowing
Just like on the mobile side of things Facebook doesn’t provide an easy way for you to hide the fact you’ve read a message. That’s where third-party plugins for your browser come in.
If you use Chrome then there are a fair number of choices. Open up a new tab then click on the colourful square grid in the upper left hand corner marked Apps. This opens a menu of Chrome and Google related options.
Double click on the Web Store icon and then search for Unseen. This is a cunning extension that will automatically block read receipts being sent when you open a message.
Click the Add to Chrome button and the extension will install. You’ll see a blue circular icon appear to the right of your search bar and if you click on it there are various options offering a more granular control over how Messenger behaves.
Firefox users can try Message Seen Disable which does the same job. To install it open up a new tab in Firefox, click the three lines up the top right corner then select Add-ons from the menu that appears. Now search for the app and click the Add to Firefox button.
So there you go. The words Facebook and privacy might seem at odds with each other, but at least using these tips you can claw back a small amount of privacy in Messenger.