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How to Tell if Your Facebook Messages Have Been Read

by on March 23, 2022
in Facebook, Computers and Software, Software & Games, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 56 comments

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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.

Woman holding iPhone showing a conversation on the Facebook Messenger app

Read receipts on Facebook.com and Messenger.com

The best way to tell whether a message has been read is to log onto Facebook with a web browser (or access the Facebook Messenger website by going to messenger.com instead of facebook.com). 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. 

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 gray 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 gray checkmark, which means the message has been sent, but not yet delivered.

If you mouse over the miniature version of their profile picture, a popup will show "Seen by [Name of person]" along with the date and time it was seen. The website version of Messenger is the only way to see the time and date the message was read.

Facebook Messages read notification showing it was seen by Josh Kirschner at 6:11PM.

Read receipts on the Facebook Messenger app

Messenger uses small, circular icons that show up in the lower right the message window. 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

With the app, you can't see the time and date stamp. Tapping the icon or message will just reveal the status as "Seen."

Facebook Messenger app showing a message was Seen.

You won't always be able to see if a message has been read

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. 

Updated on 3/23/2022 with new instructions for revealing read receipts.

[Image credit: Facebook Messenger app on iPhone via Techlicious/Smartmockups, screenshots via Techlicious and Facebook]

Elizabeth Harper is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering consumer technology and entertainment. In addition to writing for Techlicious, she's Editorial Director of Blizzard Watch and is published on sites all over the web including Time, CBS, Engadget, The Daily Dot and DealNews.



Discussion loading

Is there a way to

From Brenda Oldham on September 01, 2020 :: 9:18 am

Is there a way to make sure anyone who sends me a message doesn’t know whether I’ve read their message or not?  I was wondering if we can choose whether or not the message senders know if we have or haven’t.  Also, if I send a message to someone who is NOT my fb friend, will my message show up in the same place as the ones from his fb friends?  Didn’t know whether or not there’s more than one file or whatever they’re called.  Thank you!!!

Reply

Another name on messenger

From Mel on December 05, 2020 :: 6:51 pm

My husband was out shopping and sent me a photo on messenger. I was already on messenger at the time. As the photo came through, another woman’s name popped up to the side of the screen. Grey little bar. Then it disappeared immediately. Naturally I checked his Facebook friends and she is on there. He denies sending the photo to both of us. Did he send it to both of us? Did she send it to him then he sent it to me? Or was she checking out my profile while my husband and I were chatting? He has android and I have iPhone

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Not Seeing Read Receipt

From Chantry Wilson on December 25, 2020 :: 5:54 am

The Messenger app on my new iPhone does not give me read receipts when I look at my list of Chats. It is only if I open a message that I can then see the read receipts in that message. When I open Messenger on my desktop there is a read receipt for each of my messages in my list of Chats. Is there any way to add read receipts to my list of Chats on my iPhone?

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Why though

From justme? on November 11, 2021 :: 1:16 pm

Whats the point in this? facebook, instagram and whatsapp all have the option to hide when you are online and the option to hide if you read something.
If you dislike someone enough you want to make active efforts to hide for them, you can always simply block or ignore them, why has it become normal for technology to encourage people to be two-faced and fickle

Reply

Our Facebook accounts are not working today?

From Donna F BARRAH on April 13, 2022 :: 6:51 pm

Is there any issue to be resolved with our accounts? To our knowledge there shouldn’t be a reason for any wait to allow us on Facebook. They say there is a problem to resolve and we would like to know what it is. Thank you. Donna F Barrah, email for me is [redacted]

Reply

Seen when not seen

From Lisa Innocenzi on April 23, 2022 :: 2:55 pm

I’ve seen this happen when the person I’m messaging has me open on messenger. If you had been messaging that person before you slept and put your phone down without closing the conversation, when when that person writes, it will show read immediately.

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