One of the biggest perks of the information technology era is the ability to remain anonymous on the internet. The idea that we can say, do, or see anything without the judgement or feedback of others on a personal level is deep-rooted in the concept of most social media platforms. Our desire to remain anonymous is fueled by the universal standard of usernames and shadow-box avatars, giving us an opportunity to use our imaginations and escape from our everyday lives.
There are many services people use that completely eliminate certain levels anonymity within their products. Back in the mid-2000’s, MySpace, the largest social media platform of the time, implemented a status tracking feature that allowed users to identify if their friends were available online or offline.
Today, a similar concept exists across many popular websites, and some social media companies make it their mission to keep all communications equal on every level. For example, if you take a screenshot of a chat with your friend using SnapChat, your friend will receive a notification alerting them to the screenshot. If you view an unread text message on just about any Android or iOS device, the sender will see a “Read” status next to their message in the text message window.
One of the most popular websites in the world, Facebook, is the leading social media platform across the internet. At the time of this post, Facebook had an Alexa rank of 3, just behind Google (#1) and YouTube (#2). One of Facebook’s most popular products, Messenger, has slowly taken over the spotlight from other instant messaging services such as AOL’s AIM, Yahoo’s Yahoo! Messenger, and even Microsoft’s Skype (which replaced the now-defunct Live Messenger).
Messenger is a convenient instant messaging service with immediate access included within your Facebook account. Unfortunately, the standard settings for Messenger allow other users to view your status as Available as soon as you log into Facebook. If you install Messenger on your mobile device, your status is perpetually set to Available, notifying your friends and family that you are actively pursuing communications, even at 3:00 AM. When you receive unwanted communications under the sender’s expectation that you are available and don’t immediately reply, it can lead to uncomfortable or awkward conversations as to why you didn’t respond within a timely or careful manner.
There’s a simple solution to avoid unwanted instant messages on Facebook: Go Offline. This option is available for every profile in Messenger, and we’ve narrowed down the process to 5 simple steps. Follow the guide below to learn how to change your status on Messenger instantly, any time you desire to do so.
You must have a Facebook account in order to complete this task.
Step 1: Go to Facebook Messenger
You can access Facebook Messenger one of two ways:
1. Visit https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/ OR
2. Visit your Facebook home page and/or timeline as you would normally
a. Click on the Messenger icon in the upper right corner
b. Then, select See All In Messenger at the bottom of the drop-down list
If you followed Option 1 or 2, you should go to the next screen.
Once you have completed this step, continue to Step 2.
Step 2: Click on the Gear icon
This icon is located in the upper left-hand corner of the page, just under the standard blue main navigation header for Facebook. The gear icon is the control hub for Messenger.
Once you have completed this step, continue to Step 3.
Step 3: Select Settings
The selection for Settings is the first available option that appears as a popup under the Gear icon.
Once you have completed this step, continue to Step 4.
Step 4: Under Account, Select Go Offline
If you are currently online, the slider button should be green.
Click or Drag the green slider button until it becomes gray.
If you are currently offline, the slider button should be gray.
Once you have completed this step, continue to Step 5.
Step 5: Select Done
This option will confirm your changes on Facebook Messenger.
Congratulations! You are Offline on Facebook Messenger. If you would like to reverse these settings at any time, please follow the steps again, and select “Go Online” instead.