Can someone tell when I am on Facebook? Will they know if I visit their profile? Two questions asked by a TechJunkie reader a couple days ago. Along with a reassurance that they weren’t planning to do any stalking while on the social network. Yeah right!
Let’s be honest, we are all guilty of looking at images of our ex or checking out their current relationship status. Many of us have also checked out friends, bosses, teachers and likely a range of other people we really shouldn’t. In most cases it is harmless curiosity and I see nothing wrong with that.
A recent rumor that did the rounds not that long ago go more than a few people worried. The rumor said that if you stalked someone’s Facebook page you would then appear in their People You May Know list.
Users were checking out this list to see if anyone had been stalking them or checking out their profile. I suspect this is where these questions come from. Fortunately, that rumor proved to be baseless.
Can someone tell when I am on Facebook?
To the original question. Can someone tell when I am on Facebook? The answer depends on whether you are friends with them or not and whether you use the standard Facebook Messenger or Facebook Lite.
If you are friends, they will likely see you in Facebook Messenger. If you’re using the browser version, they will be able to see you in the chat bar. If you’re on the app, they will only see you if you’re also in Messenger.
If you use Facebook Lite you can have a degree of separation between Facebook and Messenger Lite which doesn’t always have to reflect the same online status.
If you are not friends on Facebook, they will not be able to see you anywhere. The only exception to this is if you had a previous conversation with them in Messenger and then you may see each other in your Messenger list. People with a chat history can see each other regardless of whether they are friends or not.
Will they know if I visit their profile?
The short answer is no. People cannot tell if you visit their profile. Facebook states: ‘Facebook doesn’t let people track who views their profile.’ It also says ‘Third-party apps also can’t provide this functionality. If you come across an app that claims to offer this ability, please report the app.’
There is an exception in Facebook Stories though. If you visit someone’s profile and read a Story, it will show the person who read it. Your name will appear in the list just like it does on Snapchat.
Hide your status in Facebook Messenger
If you want to surf Facebook in peace for a while you can hide your online status in Facebook Messenger. Whether you’re avoiding someone or just want to spend some alone time while online, you can with a simple trick. It works on both iOS and Android and will allow you to use Facebook to your heart’s content without being spotted and messaged.
- Open Facebook Messenger on your phone and select People.
- Select the Active tab at the top.
- Toggle the setting at the top to off.
The upside of doing this is that Facebook Messenger will no longer advertise you as online. The downside is that you will no longer be able to see which of your friends are online either. Presumably to prevent you using this setting all the time.
Read Facebook messages without notifying the sender
If you’re trying to manage your free time without wanting to chat, you can also read any Facebook messages sent to you without notifying the person who sent them. You can then read, digest, do your thing and respond when you’re ready.
- Open Facebook on your phone and let it load any messages or updates.
- Turn on Airplane Mode. (swipe down on Android, swipe up in iOS).
- Open Messenger and read your messages.
You will need to leave Airplane Mode turned on until you’re ready for the user to be notified or turn off the Facebook app completely. Otherwise they will receive a read receipt the moment you reconnect.
Even though Facebook is a harvester of data, there are still some things you can do on the platform in private. While I certainly wouldn’t encourage stalking someone on Facebook, a little harmless curiosity never hurt anyone. Now at least you know how to use Facebook without telling the world you’re online and how to use Messenger without getting tied up in chats.