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How To Tell the Last Time Someone Was Active on Facebook

Facebook has a lot going on for it, from liking statuses to interaction, checking user’s news feed, GIFs, messages, liking pages, or making your own, etc.


But, one of the draws that made a lot of people become Facebook users was to keep in touch and find their Facebook friends. Messaging and interacting with people on your Friends list can be great, but then the questions come in: how to see if someone is active on Facebook? Or when were they last active?


Why Would You Want To Know When Someone Was Last Active?


The reasoning for you wanting to know when someone was last active on the social media giant platform is mostly out of curiosity. This is the short, most common, and logical answer. We are curious creatures by nature, otherwise, we would not have invented anything, or discovered anything.


Curiosity may have killed the cat, but we are not cats, so we are good to go. Another reason that you would want to check when they were last using their Facebook account could be to try to figure out their “schedule”, aka how often they are online and when. This is so you can calculate when to get a reply back or when to talk to them before they go offline.


While Facebook is commonly used, maybe more than Snapchat or Whatsapp for certain age groups, it does not mean that every user has a continuous online status. People are not active friends for days, or their Facebook profile comes to life at certain parts of the day.


People are busy or they become so. Therefore, knowing when they had an active status last time can help you out. You would not be checking your Facebook chat on your Facebook Messenger app every 10 seconds or lurking on their Facebook page or profile every five. So save yourself time and even some stress.


a woman using Facebook chat on her Mac computer

How You Can Tell When Someone Is Active Now On PC/Mac


One of the quickest ways to tell when a user is online currently is by taking a glance at the right sidebar on your Facebook homepage. This is where Facebook Messenger contacts are. It is here that you can see who is active or at least who is active through their messenger app.


If there is a little green dot at the right bottom corner of their profile picture, then they are currently active, and you can chat with them. To chat all you would have to do is click on the person’s name, then the chat window will pop up and you are good to go.


Now, if you have a long list of contacts, and you are looking for someone in particular then you would have to search for them. The search bar is opened by pressing the magnifying glass next to the “Contacts'' heading. Type in their name and see if there is a green dot or not.


But When Were They Last Active Not Currently So (Messenger)


This is where it could get a bit more interesting. Facebook is designed in such a way where it values immediate interaction. This means that they are not too good at keeping track of the last time a user was on their platform.

With that being said you can look at messenger to see that information.


Much like a green dot indicates that someone is currently active; if you see a tiny timestamp in place of the green dot then this shows when last they were active. However, and this is what we mean when Facebook does not really keep track. This timestamp disappears when the user has not been active for an hour.


This timestamp method is not only limited to PC or Mac but you can check it out on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Samsung, etc any deceive that is smart. A tutorial on Wikihow goes into great detail on how to use Android to check if someone was or is online. But, it is similar to how you would do it on a PC, etc.


If you want to get a more accurate time, longer than an hour, you would have to go into their chat window to see all. You can do this on mobile or through a browser, etc. On mobile, you press their profile picture and at the top of the screen below their name, you can see when they were last active. This can show that they were online two hours ago, eight hours ago, etc. Either way, the timestamp is there after an hour.


If you are in the mobile Facebook app then you would have to press the messenger icon to get there. However, this is a separate app that you would have to download before you can access it. On a browser, you log into Facebook and when you look at your contact list to the side you can pick a name. The chat window will open. On the top left corner where their name is you can see, just below it, if they are active or when last they were within the hour.


If you want more detail, click on the arrow next to their name. In the drop-down menu that opens to the side of the chat, so a side-drop menu, you will see “Open in Messenger”. Click this and it will take you to Messenger where you can see if they were active hours ago.


But, some chat windows do not show a timestamp. This could be because you are not on their Friends list or they changed their activity status to hide this information. It is more likely the latter.


Exploring Their Profile


As mentioned, finding out when someone was last active can be interesting, outside of messenger thought. However, this is not an accurate method and would require you to work things out in terms of a pattern. The idea is that you go to a user’s Facebook profile and you look when they last posted.


It is here that you can figure out how often they come onto Facebook. Is it once a day? Multiple times a day? Or once every two days? The logic is that if they have time to post, they could have time for a quick chat. Plus, Facebook gives them a green dot as soon as they log in even if it is to make one post and go offline.


But, their profile can give some view on how often they are on the platform, and you can work out when. This can be easy with people who use Facebook a lot, but it can be a bit challenging if the users do not post often. Plus, this method can make you feel like a detective, however, it is totally not accurate.


People can come online to use messenger only, and not post anything. So their profile could look “dead” but their chat life is very much alive. This method is just to give you a plus-minus idea of how often they could be online.


How To Change Your Activity Status


While it is great to let your friend list know when you are active or when last you were so, sometimes having an air of mystery can also be good. There can be some cases where changing your activity status can turn away those users that always want to talk to you or you just want to browse Facebook without anyone knowing that you are.


And this is what some people do, hence why you would not see when last they were active. You can do this in two ways, the first is through the Facebook Messenger app. Open the app and tap on the cogwheel that is on the right side at the top. It will take you to your profile.


Here you will see ‘active status’ and under it, it will say on. Tapping this will give you two options. The first is to ‘Show when you’re active’. If you slide the toggle off then people will not see when you are on Facebook, including messenger. However, it will also make you unable to see when your contacts are active as well.


When you are on your browser then you should open Facebook, and press the messenger icon. You would want to go into your options which are the three buttons icon that is on the top at the right, the first one. Here you look for the ‘Turn off active status’.


It will take you to three options:

  • To turn off for all contacts, so that no one can see you being online.

  • To turn off for everyone except for certain people. This is so that you can tailor who you want to interact with. Pressing this option will let you fill in the names that you want to interact with.

  • To turn off for a few contacts. This is similar to the above choice except instead of thinking of who you want to talk to, aka let them know that you are online, you would be weeding out the ones that you do not want to be bothered by.

The app does not give you any choices, it is either all or none. But, with the browser, you can tailor make who you want to interact with or who you want to avoid. You can always unfriend the latter, but you may need them in the future. Why else would you keep them around otherwise?


Facebook messenger application icon on Apple iPhone X screen

The Power of Chatting


Chatting online with people that you know and have met is different from interacting with strangers. A lot of people have gone to the online world for their interactions during 2020. This was a way to give themselves a break, as well as check up on others.


This is the appeal of chatting on Facebook. In that, you can reach out to anyone across the seas, and see how they are. Furthermore, if you live in the same city you can meet up in real life.


Chatting makes it quick, easy, and free. You can text but that can cost and sometimes people or yourself run out of credit. So, being online can save you money, keep you updated with others and keep in touch.


Plus, you can also have a lot of fun with it. It does not have to be all serious, and work-related. You can send GIFs, memes, photos, etc. to one particular person instead of everyone when you post as your status. And, you can form chat groups.


This is handy if you are organizing a gathering with more than one person. People can let you know when they are free, where they want to go, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming at times depending on the number of messages, but it is a lot easier to keep track instead of checking what an individual said in individual chats and mixing it all together.


Group chats are also useful for work-related purposes where transparency is key. It just makes it easier to organize, as well as to go back and double-check what was said. Plus, when the event is finished then members can also post in the groups their photos and videos that they made during the gathering. Or you can ask them for advice on starting a public page.


It is like having your own private club within the hugeness of Facebook. Plus, seeing when members are active can also help you to know when to post in the chat group if you need to say something fairly important, and what everyone contributes. Instead of waiting for answers to come eventually.


In Conclusion


To see when people are active on Facebook, you would have to look at Messenger. Either through the app or on the browser. The green dot is your friend so when you see it, you know that the user is active. If you see a little timestamp instead of a dot, you know when they are last online within the hour.


If you press on their chat log then you can see how long ago they were active. And it will show you in hours if need be. If they changed their activity status when you cannot tell when they are online or when last they were active. You can also do the same thing if you want a bit of privacy while being on Facebook.


But, Facebook is not only about chatting. You can also keep up to date with people through their newsfeeds, or check out their pages to see what they are doing workwise. Plus, if you have a page of your own then you can interact with theirs.


There is a lot to do on the site, a bit less on the app though. On the site, you can interact not only through chat; but by commenting, posting, joining groups to meet new people, and more.


But chatting with people you know when they are online is very appealing since waiting for an interaction with a particular person is a tiresome game. Therefore, working out when they could do online could be a worthwhile skill.

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