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How to Tell if Your Facebook Messages Have Been Read

by on June 20, 2018
in Facebook, Computers and Software, Software & Games, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 8 comments

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 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.

Facebook Messages read notification

However, if you're reading from the mobile app on your smartphone or accessing Facebook Messenger the website (by going to instead of, 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.

Facebook Messenger read icons

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).

Facebook Messenger app read message

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]

Discussion loading



From jean penny on January 20, 2019 :: 4:12 pm

I would like to go on Facebook




From Sharon galo on February 08, 2019 :: 7:40 am

Will a circular prompt keep appearing if I want to read the message again? I don’t want the sender to know I’m reading it again



The sender won't know if

From Suzanne Kantra on February 08, 2019 :: 10:18 am

The sender won’t know if you’ve read the message more than once.

The icon changes on the mobile app once the message is read for the first time and the message is time stamped when it’s first read but not subsequent reads.




From Sharon galo on February 08, 2019 :: 2:42 pm

Thank you for your reply. My messenger messages come via email, and it prompts the senders profile pic every time I open the same message. Do you know if they get the same prompt on their end every time?



Hiding messenger

From Misty on February 27, 2019 :: 5:21 pm

Hello I know how to tell if my messages have need read, however this is different. Under his last message it has his profile pic as read NOT mine (which it should be). Me reply still hasn’t been checked.  Has he turned off messenger since my reply and that’s why it shows his pic instead of mine?



Changed from seen to sent

From Pj on February 28, 2019 :: 2:46 am

In a particular conversation I saw the seen icon on the messages and now those same messages changed from seen to sent. What does that mean?



Messenger: time message was read

From Rob on March 20, 2019 :: 10:52 pm

I sent someone a message, and Messenger (desktop) displayed the exact time they read it. We have since exchanged more messages, and the exact time the first message was read is no longer visible, and I have forgotten whene it was. It is important that I know the exact time - is there a way I can recover that informaton?



Notified of message

From Ryan on March 31, 2019 :: 9:01 pm

Just wondering, if the message has been delivered but not read, will they continue to get notified of the message? I know that when I get a message and don’t read it, it will continue to appear in bold until I click on it.


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