You can keep your Facebook account private. Here’s how to choose which Facebook friends can see you online and which can’t.
Facebook is very clear about what it wants to do. The company wants everyone to be connected all the time. That may be why making yourself seem offline on Facebook is so hard. Being “offline” or “invisible” goes against everything the social network stands for.
But not everyone wants to be “invisible.” It’s good to know that you can keep your privacy and let your closest friends and family know you’re available to talk.
Here’s how to choose which Facebook friends can see you online and which can’t…
How do Facebook Friends find out who is online?
The company uses “Active Status” to show whether or not you are online on Facebook and Messenger.
When you’re online or have recently been active on Facebook or Messenger, a green dot appears next to your profile picture. Meta’s information on Active Status could be clearer, and it changes depending on what device you use to access Facebook.
On its “Active Status on Computer” help article, the company says:
Wherever you use Meta products, even if you haven’t changed your Active Status, the settings you choose will apply.
But when you switch to the Android app help, for the same help article, the company says:
When you turn off Active Status, you’ll still look active or recently active everywhere else you use Facebook or Messenger unless you also turn off Active Status there.
Based on this, the settings for your computer’s Active Status audience apply to all computer sessions. But you must change your online status settings for each device on the mobile app separately.
Facebook’s desktop browser version and the mobile app have different active status settings. On the browser version, you can change the Active Status settings to hide when you are online.
But on the mobile app, you can only turn on or off Active Status. You can’t choose specific people or lists. It also has the option to Show when you’re both online at the same time. This lets your contacts know when you’re both online.
If you don’t want certain people to see you online or if you don’t want your online Status to be shown? Here’s how to change your Facebook settings so that only certain people can see when you’re online…
How to change on Facebook who can see you online (Web)
You can change who can see you online on Facebook by changing your Active Status settings in the browser version of the site. If you don’t want people to be able to see you online, you should turn off your Active Status on both the website and the app.
Follow these steps to change your Active Status on Facebook…
- For Chat settings, click the button with three horizontal dots on the bar to the right, where your Contacts are shown.
- Choose Active Status: ON from the drop-down menu.
- Facebook changed its chat settings.
- This will bring up a pop-up window where you can choose your options. You can turn Active Status off, let some people keep it on, or turn it off for some. If you want to change which Facebook friends can see you online and which can’t, you can do so by clicking the Edit button next to the option you want to change.
Changes made to Facebook’s active status settings
Choose the setting you like best. If you choose Edit, a popup lets you search for contacts you want to add to the Active Status ON or Active Status OFF lists. Then click Save to put the changes into effect.
Choose Facebook friends to be active
How to Turn Off Online Status on Facebook for Good
What if you don’t want anyone to see you online on Facebook? If you wish, you can always be offline or invisible on Facebook.
In your Active Status settings, you can turn off your Active Status completely on the browser version of Facebook. Regarding the mobile app, you can only turn your Active Status on or off. You can’t change it or make it your own.
Follow these steps to change your active Status on the Facebook app for your phone:
- Choose the Messenger icon on Facebook at the top right of your home screen.
- On the Chats tab, click the three-lined menu icon.
- Tap the gear icon to get to the settings.
- Choose Status Active.
- Turn off the options for Show when you’re active and Show when you’re active together.
- Choose how long you want to take a break from being active. You can choose from options like “Until I change it,” “For 1 hour,” “For 8 hours,” “Until 8:00,” and “Custom.” Then press Stop.
If you turn off your Active Status, you can’t see when other people are online, either. In our tests, turning off Active Status on the mobile app did not change it on Facebook’s desktop browser version.
On the Windows Store app, you can also turn off the fact that you are online.
How to Use a Message Block to Stop Facebook Friends from Seeing You Online on Facebook
If you’re worried that Facebook won’t turn off your Active Status for all of your sessions and you don’t want someone to see you online, blocking them from messaging you is a surefire way to stop this from happening.
If you block someone on Facebook from sending you messages, they can’t see when you’re online.
Follow these steps to block messages from contact and stop them from being able to see if you’re online or not:
- Start a chat with the person.
- By clicking on their name, you can see a list of settings.
- Choose Block.
- Facebook menu block messages
- Select the option to block calls and messages.
- Block Facebook messages
- This way, the person won’t be able to see your online Status. They won’t be able to message or call you on Facebook either.
One way to protect your privacy and safety on Facebook is to turn off your online Status. While changing your online Status, you should also check your other privacy settings to ensure Facebook only shows the information you want it to.
Facebook lets you decide who can see you online.
Facebook is not the same thing as online privacy. But there are ways to have more control over who can see you online on the platform and whether you show up online at all.
Use the settings in this article to make sure that only people on your contact list can see when you’re online.