Read receipts aren't everyone's favorite thing — after all, they can let friends know we've read a message when we would rather pretend we hadn't — but they're handy for keeping up with online conversations. And Facebook Messenger, which connects us with tons of friends, has read receipts if you know where to look.
The appearance of the read receipt depends on how you're accessing Messenger. This can make telling if someone has actually read your message a bit confusing. The easiest way to tell whether a message has been read is to log onto Facebook with a web browser. Clicking on the Messenger icon reveals a list of the people you've communicated with. Selecting a person pop-ups a small window over your Facebook timeline. Under the last, the message will say "Seen " with a time and date, or, for group conversations, "Seen by " if they've been read. Nothing will appear if the latest message hasn't been read. It's as simple can be.
However, if you're reading from the mobile app on your smartphone or accessing Facebook Messenger the website (by going to messenger.com instead of facebook.com), it's a little less obvious. Instead of a text "seen" message, Messenger uses small, circular icons that show up in the lower right the message window. They're more subtle than a straightforward text, and even if you see them, you may not know what they mean.
If a friend has read your message, you'll see a miniature version of their profile picture. If they haven't, you'll see a blue icon with a white checkmark indicating the message has been delivered, but not yet read. You may also see a white circle, which means the message is sending, or a white circle with a blue checkmark, which means the message has been sent, but not yet delivered.
Timestamps do exist where these icons are used, but to reveal the time and date stamp you need to select the text if you're using the mobile app (see below).
For the browser-based version of Messenger, hover over the text (see below).
You won't always be able to see if a message has been read
But a message being unread doesn't necessarily mean the recipient hasn't read it. Message notifications — which your friend may have pop up on their desktop or smartphone — let friends read your messages without read receipts. You'll only get a read receipt when your friend opens Messenger to read your message or views Messenger messages through Facebook.
[Image credit: Facebook Messenger app via BigStockPhoto, Facebook]