Facebook Messenger has a great many uses, but when you don't feel like being contacted or getting into a conversation it's a pain. You can't ignore that message notification on your phone, but if you read the message you'll feel compelled to reply immediately - and sometimes that's just not practical. We'll show you how to secretly read Facebook messages without being seen.
Read Facebook messages on your phone without the sender knowing
When you send a message on Facebook Messenger you’ll see a circle with a tick inside appear next to the text box. Then, if the recipient opens it, this will disappear and be replaced by the person's icon. 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 or Flight mode. This can be found by opening up the Settings menus or apps on iOS and Android and selecting the icon that looks like an aeroplane.
When you first receive the message don't open the Facebook Messenger app, instead turn on Flight Mode. Then, open the app and you can read the new message without the sender knowing. There isn't an obvious way to spot this on your own phone, but for the sender there are three stages displayed.
The first is a white circle with a tick inside that's found just to the right of the text bubble. This denotes that the message has been sent.
Next, the circle is filled in with a grey colour, signifying that the message has been received but not yet read.
This is where the status will remain if you use Flight Mode to read the message. Should you decide that you're free to engage with the sender then you can turn Flight Mode off and open the Facebook Messenger app, this will then replace the circle with your icon, informing the sender that you've read the message.
Read Facebook messages on your PC or laptop without the 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, then click on the Web Store icon.
Search for Unseen and you'll find a free, 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, then when you use Chrome to access Facebook Messenger you'll be able to read messages in private.
Firefox users can try FB Unseen, 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 discretion in Messenger.