Do you want to see if your friends have been on Facebook recently? And do you want to stop other Facebook users from knowing when you were last active on Facebook? This tutorial will show you how to tell when someone was last active on Facebook and then show you how to prevent others from determining when you were last active on Facebook.
Sometimes social media makes people a bit impatient. Were we to send someone a letter, you know like a written one, would you sit by your letterbox waiting for a reply? If you called them and they weren’t available, would you constantly look at your phone waiting for them to call back? The answer is likely no but when it comes to Facebook and other social networks, if someone doesn’t answer within minutes, we begin to take it personally.
The last online or online status features seemed like such a good idea. You could tell your friends that you were currently using Facebook rather than needing to interact right away or tell your friends you haven’t been online in days so they don’t wait for a reply. Only this feature it hasn’t worked out like that as most of us know all too well.
Some social networks have removed this status information altogether while other social networks have yet to catch up.
It is much easier and probably healthier to discuss your online status and how you use Facebook with your friends to set expectations rather than just turn off your status altogether. If you’re changing this because you feel pressured to respond immediately to contact, setting those expectations with your friends can resolve the issue immediately without impacting your friendships or changing the way you use Facebook.
You could tell Facebook friends that even if you’re shown as active or recently active on Facebook doesn’t mean you were actively using Facebook. You could explain that you frequently leave Facebook running on your smartphone even when you are not actively using it. Tell your friends that it could take 24 hours for you to respond to messages and to not take it personally.
If setting expectations with regard to response times does not work or if you generally just want to protect your online privacy, these methods will help you.
Last active on Facebook
Facebook makes it very easy to find out when someone was last active if they are your friends. Just log on using a desktop browser and look on the right of the page at your friends list and you should see all their status listed.
Green dots are for those online right now and those with a time next to their name have been online that many hours ago. So if someone has 1h next to their name, they were online an hour ago. If they have 12h, twelve hours and so on.
This doesn’t work for people you’re not friends with but for all your Facebook friends is a fairly accurate measure.
On mobile, you can see the same using Facebook Messenger. Open your Friends list and you should see all their last seen times listed in much the same way as on desktop.
Hiding last active on Facebook
To help protect your Facebook privacy, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiding your last active status. In fact, it can be quite liberating if you have friends who always think when you’re online you should be at their beck and call.
From the Facebook app:
- Select the People tab and select Active at the top.
- Toggle off the slider next to your name.
From the Facebook Messenger app:
- Open the Facebook Messenger app and select your profile icon.
- Select Availability under your image and toggle it to off.
If you prefer to use Messenger Lite as I do, the process is similar:
- Select the cog settings icon.
- Select your profile at the top.
- Select Active Status.
- Toggle it to Off.
You can do much the same in the browser version of Facebook too.
- Open Facebook in a browser.
- Select the small grey cog icon at the bottom of the chat slider on the right.
- Select Turn Off Active Status.
If you use all three of these apps, you will have to follow the steps for all three apps.
Hide Facebook status with Adblock Plus
If you use a browser for most of your Facebook activity, there are a bunch of extensions you can use that can hide your online status. You can also use Adblock Plus (ABP) to block it. As I know many of you already use Adblock Plus, this is a very useful tweak to make.
- Select Options within ABP.
- Select the option to Start Writing My Filter List in the center pane.
- Add ‘https://*-edge-chat.facebook.com’ to the list and select Save.
I use a different method of blocking ads so had to ask a couple of people if this worked. Two said yes it did and one said it didn’t. Your mileage may vary but if you already use ABP, it’s worth a try.
The downside of turning off status on Facebook is that you won’t be able to see other people’s status either. I think that’s a fair trade-off:. If you don’t want to be seen, why should you get to see other people?