Ignore Facebook Messenger’s “active now” or “online” presence info, it’s inaccurate

Also a faster way to wrongly conclude people are lying to you

One of the nice features of Facebook Messenger is that is shows when people are available or not. Except when what it shows is wrong, which appears to be happening a lot. Check out this rapidly growing – an unanswered officially – thread at Facebook Community Help about the issue. Here are a few choice quotes:

This has also happened to me.

Fell asleep at 11pm.

Girlfriend thinks I am up to no good as it says that I have been active between 11.30 – 12.

Caused mayhem.

My boyfriend and I broke up because of this :(

Sometimes it’s good because you think “oh thank God, he was online 14 min. ago, so he wasn’t hit by a truck!”, but other times it’s “hey WTH is he doing on FB mobile at midnight when he told me he went to bed at 10pm?”

So what’s happening here? Here are my guesses:

  1. Facebook Chat in the browser has no uniform way of determining the idle state of the host machine or browser.
  2. The Facebook Messenger app can’t signal that it’s idle either, because most mobile OSes kill apps or place them on standby at will to conserve power.
  3. Mobile data connections are relatively tenuous compared to conventional LAN connections. This means that a mobile client may fade in and out of connectedness despite the user being active.
  4. Facebook Chat’s infrastructure doesn’t distinguish between API calls from Facebook clients and 3rd party apps using a Facebook account. This means that you could appear to be online solely because a web service that uses your Facebook credentials pinged Facebook’s servers. Combined with point #1, it means Facebook might assume a user is online solely because their browser is on a Facebook page, despite them not being at the computer.
  5. The sheer number of users and clients (each Facebook user can have an unlimited number of clients) is too much for Facebook to track accurately in real-time

Of course, with no official word, the above are just shots in the dark. However, for now, just bear in mind that Messenger presence may just be flat out wrong, and don’t take people to task over it.

UPDATE: Google Hangouts has added presence info in a recent update, so we’ll probably be seeing this issue with it also:

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177 thoughts on “Ignore Facebook Messenger’s “active now” or “online” presence info, it’s inaccurate”

  1. I had a fishy feeling about this feature. I was guessing that the active now info was pretty inaccurate. How do we know if it shows as “active now” if the user’s screen is unlocked/on, or if it’s when the user has the app actively open? If it’s based on the user’s screen being on, there’s times when other apps turn on the screen during a notification or when someone calls. Will it count that as being “active now”? It’s pretty wonky to me.

    1. How do we know? We don’t, but that’s not necessarily FB’s fault: each user can have an unlimited number of clients as AFAIK FB doesn’t limit API calls on the user side of things. Each client handles apps and idle states differently and sometimes in a non-standard way. It’s really a LOT to keep track of and very difficult to get right.

      1. Can you delete my comment I left earlier please, she’s googling this issue and it’s only a matter of time before she comes here

      2. had major row with hubby at 7 this morning as he showed he had been on fb chat at 3am (grey mobile icon said 5 hours ago) but he said he was asleep and was mega angry with me as couldn’t prove otherwise – he works away so im anxious and he always skypes before bed at 9pm – I always check chat lights and his is always off around 9 except last nights? Im thinking the worse even though he is adament he was asleep?? he has an iphone and ipad in his room and doesn’t log out of fb

        1. damn people! Get a fucking life! People break up over facebook chat screwing with your “last online”-status, lol!

          1. It’s not that ppl break up over FB..it’s just that ppl sometimes lie about what they are doing n the FB chat gives them away..so in te end it’s lies they break up over

    2. I was testing this with my phone and checking my online status on a friends phone. I am connected to facebook with my Pinterest and and Youtube acount and other little things.. So just by going on Youtube or Pinterest, it shows me as active on FB !! UGH!!! So annoying. I know this is pathetic but I also had many fights with my bf because of this stupid little thing.

      1. I’ve had this same.problem thinking my gf was.on.Facebook chat when.I.was out because I could see last active for example 20mins but she was adamant she wasn’t online so many arguments

        1. Same here, I’ve had the same problem with my girlfriend. She says she goes to bed around 12 am, but ill go on an hour later and it says she is active. And it periodically jumps from last active 20 minutes ago, or 40 minutes ago, then it says active again, and it continues to do that all through the night. But it is clearly innacurate, and it will still say that they are online even when they are not if they do not log out of facebook on their phone or computer, or if she has apps that are linked with facebook and she gets notifications, it will say she’s online, but it doesn’t neccessarily mean that she is online. I got into so many arguments over it, but don’t ruin your realtionship over something so little, and if she tells you that she is not online and you trust her, then don’t worry about it, a key factor in a relationship is trust.

          1. Hey can someone help me,I don’t really want to discuss this with any of my friends but, my boyfriend normally falls asleep on me because I hate saying night night to people I’d rather fall asleep because you don’t have to wait to see who messages who first the next morning. Yeah so anyway he falls alseep or whatever at like 12 for instance. And on fb messanger at like 1 it will say he was active an hour ago,but about 15 minutes later it will say he’s active now and then it will go to 1m 2m ext, Imessanged him then asking was he awake and he relied the next morning saying he wasn’t awake he would have text me if he was,cause be obviously woke out of his sleep not being able to get back, I just wanted to know does some point through the night does it randomly say people are online when there not?because he wouldn’t just ignore me like that,

    3. i figured this “active now” on messenger app..active now means either the person is online or not.If you didnt close the messenger app, it will automatically states that you are active even if you are sleeping depending on your internet connection. Once the connection is poor it will state active 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 etc.. mins ago, then once its picking up good connection it will automically shows you are “active now” but if you closed your fb and messenger app, definitely you are not online at all..

  2. I grilled my girlfriend countless times about lying to me and chatting. So glad to see that this feature is wrong, and other people have had tension in relationships because of it.

  3. I want to know what’s going on here as well, me and my girlfriend had an argument over it. Now I just seen her and her “best friend” have last active times 1 minute apart and I’m getting angry. I tested by sending myself a message (via web) without going online in any chat app/web messenger and it showed green to my other account. More research is necessary because this is clearly creating a lot of drama amongst couples.

    1. I agree with u, sometimes they may be up there and sometimes they may not. Don’t lose sleep over it though. All darkness comes to light sooner or later. FB doesn’t cause problems (just the people on it). I know what you’re going through tgh. Peace and Blessings !!!

    2. I let it get to me sometimes, but seriously it says my guy is active but he’s asleep next to me, so either someone else is on his creeping or his phone might be left on, not waking him over effing FB!

    3. The question seems to be a bit bigger than technology. I had friends say to me :”Why the hell didnt you answer your FB messages from me? It said you were on all night” I have 5 computers in my network at home, a couple laptops, my tablet and my phone… Also my office computer as well..Sometimes I leave my office one on and connected. My phone is always connected and messenger is running all the time. All I have to do is turn my phone on to check a text message and it will say Im online. Doesnt mean I really am. But I find it creepy when people argue over stuff like this. Unless they have given you a reason in the past to suspect them of dishonesty then the problem is with the relationship. Super jealous or super controlling people will have a problem with anything then and if its not this, it will be something else. Not bashing anyone.. just noticing

  4. Yeah I have almost lost a friend over this feature. 2 people I know who know each other it is always saying active always at the same time. I believe this feature needs to be removed as it is I feel like an invasion of privacy! If people don’t want to talk to you all the time then it is their choice but this option fb has introduced is messing with peoples minds! REMOVE IT!

    1. I believe this feature needs to be removed as it is I feel like an invasion of privacy!

      Don’t be ridiculous, there’s much precedent for online vs. idle status in the IM world: AIM, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger (retired), Skype, WhatsApp, etc. all use it. It’s not a privacy issue in the least.

    2. This is bullcr@p! I have not used fb during the night, and my gf told me that I was up all night using fb, she even sent me screenshots that I am online…FYI I was fvkng sleeping! Frustrating, she even told me I am a liar? How should I fvkng defend myself when she got screenshots of me being “online” cr@p cr@p cr@p!

      Im doing my study with this fb shyt! Truly I was holding my gfs phone it says I was online when in fact im reading comments on this blog!

      1. This exact same thing happened to me!!!! Like in every single word exactly the same!! So Frustrating and honestly how can you prove yourself right?

    1. If you mean that a person’s “active now” status means they’re talking to someone else at that moment, I think that’s unlikely. Traditionally IM active/idle status has always referred to whether the person in question is using the client machine/service at the time, and not whether they’re currently in a conversation.

      Of course, the problem here is 1) FB hasn’t specified what the semantics of “active now” are 2) Even if it did, determining the user’s state is still difficult as I said originally.

      1. What if it shows them last “active at 7 hours ago” then pops up “on mobile” with no green dot then an hour later says “active” with a green dot?

          1. My question was meaning… Does “On mobile” with no green dot mean that they are on but hiding chat?

                  1. if it does not show time with mobile symbol…it means its more than 8 hour since that person logged in

                1. They have installed whatsapp messanger. There you can choose to automaticly hide your timestamp everytime you log in with your phone

                    1. I still have NO idea what “on mobile” stamp with no green dot means when they were just offline for hours. Just makes no sense. Unless that person is online but hiding from being seen….. Anyone?

    2. ‘active now ‘means the user was active within an hour! Active now /active 2hours ago..these R counted in hours n not minutes. So if U see active now at 11:30 it will say active about an hour ago at 12:30 n by 12: 35 it will read active an hour ago!

  5. I actualy sit behind my computer at work, load facebook. My Gf is at home, Facebook on my PC will say: 24m ago, My facebook on the phone will say 1m ago, facebook messenger will say “Active now”. This happens a LOT, it can also jump from 1m to 2H or something like that. And for some reason if you say like a post on the pc. the chat function often doesn’t recognize is.

    So you have someone offline for say 2h then when they login you get the green dot. and then they logout and it will say 2h again.

    All in all, very annoying and very unreliable. Worse then 3 diffrent facebook sources can give 3 diffrent online status’s at the same time (and i refreshed and rebooted etc all of them several time to check if it wasnt an update thing)

    Ok my 2 cents of rant :P

    Oh and the person above… Green dot is from a pc, or “browser” version, the cell phone icon is when they use a mobile divece+app.

    1. So you have someone offline for say 2h then when they login you get the green dot. and then they logout and it will say 2h again.

      I think “idle time” stamps refer to most recent mobile usage, and therefore you can still be idle for “2h” despite using the site via the desktop browser within the past 5 minutes if you haven’t used the mobile app within the past 2 hours. As a matter of fact, I think users who’re signed in via the browser appear online always, even if they’re not actually at the PC.

      Green dot is from a pc, or “browser” version, the cell phone icon is when they use a mobile divece+app.

      I’ve seen the green dot for mobile users too, LOL.

      1. what if when a person comes online all of a sudden, theyre on a green dot, and the time is say 10pm, you refresh the page about 20mins later (time is now 10:20pm) and that person was active 18mins ago (that’s 10:02pm) with a mobile timestamp. does that mean they were online through mobile? because it seems to me that they can have a green dot even when theyre on from their mobile?

  6. My problem is that I’m signed into my mobile app but never open it. However, when I log in on the PC, it shows up on my husbands browser AND mobile app as online 1m ago. Certain people it shows certain timestamps…the TRUE timestamp of when I’m actually on the mobile app and the timestamp of when I’m not in the mobile app, but sign in on a PC.

    I’ve experimented with this with my husband and with my sister. My sister always sees the correct timestamp (when I actually open the Facebook app). My husband always sees the incorrect tmestamp (when I log in to the browser from my phone or PC, it shows as 1m ago the whole time I’m logged in).

    How odd…He doesn’t care, but I wonder how many people see the wrong thing and think I’m logged in to Facebook all day and night? How do I fix this? How do I stop it from tracking when I log into Facebook from the PC/Browser?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks for the experiment results! Really puzzling indeed.

      How do I stop it from tracking when I log into Facebook from the PC/Browser?

      AFAIK the only way to do this would be to disable Chat entirely* OR disable it for people you’d rather not be able to view your status:
      1) Log into Facebook on a desktop browser
      2) Enter Facebook Chat settings by clicking the gear icon at the bottom of your contact list
      3) Click “Advanced Settings”
      4) Use one of the options there to turn off chat completely, or blacklist/whitelist it for some contacts only

      Try that and let me know how it works.

      *Personally I wouldn’t do this as I use FB Chat to communicate with a lot of people, but hey.

      1. The thing is – a majority of the time, it’s off. I only turn it on when I’m ready to chat. On, off, or disabling if for some doesn’t make a difference in the timestamp. This only started happening about two weeks ago. Nothing different has been done on my part.

    2. Just an FYI.. I also experimented with this a lot and also found out that if your Youtube or Pinterest, or any other app is somehow connected to your FB account.. Just by using those apps will make you active on FB.

  7. So the last time i was talking to this person was 3 days ago but everyday in between the last time i talked to them their timestamp has been “active now” then i just checked it now and it has “active 3d ago”…?

  8. i think you shouldnt date people you don’t trust. seriously??? facebook time stamps are a barometer of the health of your relationship??

  9. IT IS ACCURATE, basically if you checked your FB at 11pm if would say ‘active now’ and you would remain as active until one hour later when it would say ‘active one hour ago’. It doesnt show you in minutes.

    How ever if you have the facebook app and are looking it on a computer it will say 1m 2m depending on whether the other person has a facebook app

  10. My fb messanger doesn,t show me active r not who is not my fri( mary tianmin) . That is always show me she is on mobile. Plz help me to where she is how she.

  11. I know there’s a problem with this feature because just the other day i got up at 7am and went to use facebook and it told me my boyfriend was online at 4am funny thing is at 4am he was sleeping next to me so i know thats not right. Also it looks like if you have the app downloaded it makes updates in the middle of the night for you which makes a time stamp. I hate this app and dont use it because 1, i dont need people knowing when i was on last and 2, it starting to make me believe my bf is addicted, needy and ALWAYS online when he’s not. This feature is not good for relationships.

    1. Also it looks like if you have the app downloaded it makes updates in the middle of the night for you which makes a time stamp.

      I’m not sure what you mean by this?

      it starting to make me believe my bf is addicted, needy and ALWAYS online

      How does being online make anyone addicted and/or needy? That doesn’t make any sense.

      This feature is not good for relationships.

      Depends on the person. It makes my relationships a lot better because 1) I can tell whether or not messages get delivered, as opposed to SMS with which there’s always a risk delivery fails without any notification 2) I can tell whether people read my messages or not, which eliminates doubt about whether I’m being ignored and makes it impossible for them to lie that they never received something I sent them.

    2. Agree 100% it’s causing a huge problem in my daughter’s relationship with her bf. She thinks he’s being sketchy because it looks like he’s either active, on mobile or green dot chatting all the time. Ugh!

    1. No, you can’t. The entire point of Facebook Messenger is that your entire conversations are available from anywhere: web, phone, etc.

      1. Mate just lookin for info. From web is from a computer. The time stamps do be acurare it can say green active now but in 3mins wen they go off it itll say active 3mins ago or more. Id problems with my gf and it can be very off at times. If you on your iphone and then use a pc. Some times youll log out and it will show eg. 15min mobile. Which says u were last on 15min mibile but not telling you that the person was on the laptop since. But most times it is acurate… And ppl do lie

  12. Awesome blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about
    here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Cheers!

    1. My husband’s almost always shows the green dot..even while he’s asleep and isn’t on Facebook on his phone or the computer. Weird.

  13. This feature is putting my marriage on the brink of divorce. I have such a hard time believing technology is wrong all the time. She swears she isnt but i cant seem to believe it.

      1. Hi jdrch,

        I could really use your help here. I have a similar problem. I’ve got both the FB and FB messenger app installed on my phone (Samsung S4).

        My problem is that:

        1. most times the FB messenger app shows this friend of mine as “active” and the time stamp as 1 min. it stays awhile like this, even if I refresh, but show’s no green dot.

        2. Other times, the green dot is on, but when I message, I don’t get a reply or it comes after awhile. But I see the seen notification, so I know she sees them.

        3. When it’s green, and I check available friends, her name does show up.

        I checked it out just now, and it says was active 7 hrs ago, and I’m 100% she is offline now, (and probably sleeping soundly lol) but my question is:

        4. From what I’m seeing, does it mean that she’s turned chat off on me, or she’s hidden to me, and that’s why it shows active for 1 min continuously?

        5. If I am turned off, is there a way to definitely find out? She once mentioned to me how she sometimes stops chat guys who annoy her, so I know she does it.

        I really really like this girl, and I’ve been taking things slow for nearly 3 months, til I could ask her out, but I’m more than a little crushed at the thought that maybe she’s not really into me, and worse I’m one of those annoying guys, and that this could explain her behavior on fb.

        If this is the case, I’d at least want to know, so I can stop wondering if I’ve got a shot or not, I don’t wanna be a nuisance to her, so if I could find out, I know where I stand.

        Can you help me?

        Trevor

    1. not to make you worry but, either she is lying or someone have access to her account. It does not ever show anyone as online or otherwise if she havent been on, but that doesnt mean she is flirting with other men, just reading shit and being a girl is most likely. All girls are addicted to this facebook shit even tho they claim not to be

  14. Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for info about this topic for a long time and yours is the best I’ve found out so
    far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure
    about the source?

  15. I really dislike this feature, I don’t want to know when people have seen my message and vise versa. I also don’t want it to show when I’ve been on fb, it’s ridiculous. I had an argument with one of my friends about being active on fb and ignoring my msg and it turned out my friend was never online. This feature needs to be removed, I really hate it.

  16. Hi everyone,

    I could really use your help here. I have a similar problem. I’ve got both the FB and FB messenger app installed on my phone (Samsung S4).

    My problem is that:

    1. most times the FB messenger app shows this friend of mine as “active” and the time stamp as 1 min. it stays awhile like this, even if I refresh, but show’s no green dot.

    2. Other times, the green dot is on, but when I message, I don’t get a reply or it comes after awhile. But I see the seen notification, so I know she sees them.

    3. When it’s green, and I check available friends, her name does show up.

    I checked it out just now, and it says was active 7 hrs ago, and I’m 100% she is offline now, (and probably sleeping soundly lol) but my question is:

    4. From what I’m seeing, does it mean that she’s turned chat off on me, or she’s hidden to me, and that’s why it shows active for 1 min continuously?

    5. If I am turned off, is there a way to definitely find out? She once mentioned to me how she sometimes stops chat guys who annoy her, so I know she does it.

    I really really like this girl, and I’ve been taking things slow for nearly 3 months, til I could ask her out, but I’m more than a little crushed at the thought that maybe she’s not really into me, and worse I’m one of those annoying guys, and that this could explain her behavior on fb.

    If this is the case, I’d at least want to know, so I can stop wondering if I’ve got a shot or not, I don’t wanna be a nuisance to her, so if I could find out, I know where I stand.

    Can you guys help me?

    Trevor

  17. I could always tell when my friend was on or last active, the time stamp and mobile icon next to their name. Over a month ago, it suddenly changed to just saying “on mobile” even when they are active. It changed back for a few days only, when I was able to see them online or last active with the time stamp, then it went back to saying “on mobile”. Even when we are chatting using our phones, still says “on mobile”. Is this a glitch or are they using some kind of program to hide when they are active?

    1. If you read the conclusion, you’ll see that it’s not an easily resolved issue. With unlimited endpoints, each having any of a myriad different idle and refresh modes, it’s simply very tough to accurately determine whether a particular user is online or not.

  18. Hi, I hv a question to ask:

    When saw the recipient with a active now stamp so sent out the message, then later the recipient name pop out with green dot…then continue sent out few messages..the time stamp show either active now or 1m..then green dot appear again, but the messages didn’t showed any seen mark.

    The recipient have two fb accounts ..these two accounts take turn to happen same incident as mentioned above at the same time within 30 mins..

    May know in this circumstances means what?

    Are they had add their fb account to im+ so that can read the message without go thru fb messenger so that seen mark not appearing?

    1. I’m not sure, but your mention of IM+ brings up another point: FB Messenger also supports Jabber, which has its own definitions of status. Ergo, 3rd party chat clients can misreport status if their definition thereof defers from Facebook’s.

  19. Has anyone else reading this experienced the “on mobile” status even when they are actively on FB, chatting with you. I’ve seen it with other friends, but the moment we start chatting it reverts back to “Active” and their time stamp appears next to their icon symbol.

  20. Turn off chat on ALL devices (pc; ipad, phone). This will reset to “on mobile” after a while. You can actively be on FB and no one can tell you are on.

  21. A Chat conversation between a friend of mine and a friend of his (but not mine) just popped up on my FB timeline….I haven’t seen this before. Doesn’t look as if he Shared it…How does this happen?

    1. This happens when the sender addresses the message to multiple people (group conversations). Replies to such messages are automatically seen by everyone the original message was addressed to. You can also leave the conversation if you’re no longer interested in participating in or getting notifications for it.

      1. This wasn’t a conversation that I might possibly be involved in…and it showed as a window, more or less, on timeline….not within Messenger…is that how Chat appears?

          1. Ummm, no, really not a good idea–for me. I was wondering if this was some sort of personal (cryptic) message for me, or I was included in a group in error…or just what. I think I’d better decide that it doesn’t matter, and forget it.

            1. You can always blur out the parts you want to keep private. I’m just curious though, I’ve never seen a chat message open actually *in* the timeline before, that’s new.

              1. I’m afraid that would be most of it. I’m no technological wizard, but thinking about it a little more, it looks like a screen shot to me….posted for entertainment value.

  22. My girlfriend’s last seen on facebook keep showing as if she kept logging all day long, E.G it shows she has been online 10 minutes ago, then 1 min ago, then 5 min ago, then 2 min ago, then 40 min ago, then 1 min ago, but she claims she has not used the app in the entire day, not even once, that maybe she has opened facebook to view her timeline one or two times, she also said that maybe when she unlocks her screen it may trigger it or something. Is this possible?

      1. The last week or two, the Active Last has been truly ridiculous…for instance, just opening and closing the app took one friend’s Last Active from 2 hrs to 10 hrs then 2 days–in that order….How does THAT work?! Somewhat inline with the efficacy of getting a FB notification re: someone’s status update today (Aug 8th) when, in fact, the status was posted on August 1st….pointless, you’ve probably already seen it. BTW, I may need to change the e-mail client on my phone (not pulling in emails from AOL)…would installing a new email client app affect my Messenger ?

      2. So she is actually telling the truth or what? My question is that it keeps showing as if she used it every 5-10 minutes throughout the day, but according to her she hasn’t, has this been reported before?

        1. In my humble and unsolicited opinion, one thing is certain- this feature of Messenger tends to create trust issues between friends/partners–based upon totally unreliable, inconsistent info. Believe her or don’t believe her, but I’d hope you would factor in some other aspects of your relationship before you accuse her of telling less than the truth…

  23. Hi, this issue is causing a lot of problems. When I’m using my Nokia fb app, chatting with friends, when we say goodbye, if I stay online, I can see her ‘activeness’ in great detail. Ex. Acitve now… then active 43 seconds ago… then active now again…. then active 3 minutes ago… active now… and so forth. So does this mean she’s talking to someone on chat? Because I can’t see any of her other action in the newsfeed (ex I like, comments etc.) Thanks.

  24. Oh, I didn’t specify that my friend uses fb from her laptop, never from a mobile. I check in on my mobile and that’s where I can see who is active and not active (annoying though it may be, I’d prefer not to know!). Thanks, great blog!

  25. hi, in web chat..does little person green dot chat means the person I selected to just chat with means the person is actually online but invisible to me? Then after a while the status disappeared and just shows the name.

  26. What does it mean if it says active now on the messenger app, but no green dot? Is there a way to hide chat? Although, I don’t think he will have hidden me, it’s my dad and he’s not very technology minded.

  27. First of all, it’s good to see that more people are having similar issues with the FB messenger functionality. That’s why I found this blog. Second, I notice you get a lot of spam comments and actually let them stand there and even reply to it. I’m a blogger myself, and anything with ‘green coffee bean’ or something that refers to ‘the topic that you wrote about’ instead of ‘this problem with FB messenger’… it usually is a way of spammers to get a link to their webiste online.

  28. People are seriously fighting and ending relationships over something like this??? I don’t get it. When you chose to be in a relationship (friendship or other) you choose to trust that person. Why even question someone over something like this?? How ridiculous. I would feel silly starting an argument about something like that. If you have that much doubt then there are definitely some trust issues. If you cannot trust your friend, partner, spouse, then you really don’t belong together.

  29. I was wondering why the phone icon suddenly is gone next to a name? I have been chatting with a friend and after some info was exchanged, the next morning the phone icon is missing. The icon’s been there forever, but after that last chat, the next morning her icon was gone along with time stamp and has been for a few days. The weird thing is ,I sent a message and she still replyed rather quick even though it showed she was off. Is she hiding from me or just logged off or both lol.

  30. I have enjoyed this blog and it has been the most helpful I have seen regarding this problem (since there are no official answers) I would like to share my experiences, as well as ask a few questions:
    I use the Facebook app on an iPad. I do not have any clue how I appear to others as far as my status goes, but this is what I have observed about how it shows the status of others to me in my chat window.
    -when a friend is logged on and currently using facebook in ANY capacity (even if it is not chatting, it could be liking a status or browsing) whether it be on a mobile device or pc I see a green dot next to their name. As soon as that friend stops using facebook or logs off it immediately starts to count how long until their last activity (hence the 1m, 43m, 3d, etc). This to my knowledge has been very accurate, to a point, because I have literally been able to watch it count up from 1m, to 2m, then 3m so on and so fourth. There has been once or twice where it has jumped from 15m to 1h, but I think that was a refreshing issue on my end because almost all the time it is accurate to the minute…UNTIL it hits 1h. After the 1h mark I have found that it doesn’t go to 2h until that mark has been met, so 1h could mean anywhere between 1 hour-1 hour and 59 minutes ago. As far as if facebook will log a timestamp for you like you logged on recently but you didnt, i am unsure. im sure it is quite possible for some phones or apps to log you in and out or activate your account during updates, or mark you as active on facebook when you just simply unlock your phone…i am not sure, but to my knowledge this is not the case with my friends, and when it says they have been active it is because they have truly been ( i know cause i have tested it out with a few friends) Most of the friends I have tracked in this capacity use Facebook on a phone or other Mobile device, and therefore has the little grey phone icon next to their time stamp. However, sometimes I notice that the time stamp goes away and just the grey phone icon is left by itself. I at first thought that this meant they had been inactive for so long that facebook could no longer track the time, but I know this is not true because I have seen it go instantly from 2h to this phone only status before, so I am confused by this. Is this a glitch or does this mean that they are hiding their status somehow? I AM CONFUSED AND UNSURE AND WOULD LOVE TO FIND OUT.
    I know there has also been talk about the “seen” feature for messages. I have no insight to this because I do not really use the message portion that much.
    I know that it seems silly to those of you who say that letting this feature cause relationship problems is immature, but sometimes when relationships are new and you are still learning about the other person little things like this are not little at all. I can totally understand how it can make someone question the honesty of another person when they say “I didn’t call you cause I went to bed at ten”, and then the Facebook time stamp proves they were actually active on facebook at 10:30, then again at 11, then maybe 11:15. I get it, and I’ve been there. All I can say is take it for what it is, a piece of technology that is relatively accurate, but obviously not perfect. And facebook is a free, privately owned service. For all of you who do not like the features (admittedly, I am clearly not a huge fan of the time stamp or seen feature), recognize that you are of the free will to not participate in facebook if you do not like it. I for one still do, but realize that facebook can do whatever it wants, so although i would like to find the answers to my questions i cant really complain. Thanks to anyone who has more insight to my question that they can share.

    1. my fb puts notifications on my screen. I sometimes wonder if hitting the clear button makes it active again. I know if I pick on it (purpose or accident) it does. & my messenger comes strait in as well. I believe I always show active due to that. I know several who do. when f.b refreshes im almost positive it makes your status active. also updates. plus when friends post on time line or tag you seems to activate it I think. it’s not real accurate. I’m glad others are figuring it out too. I’ve seen allot of people have issues in their relationships due to it…. it’s just suppose to be for fun, not spyware

  31. my girlfriend said I spoke to 5 people on chat on the 11.11.13, this is not true I have chatted to maybe 2 of these many months ago, how can I prove im innocent, she also she as screen shot to prove it

      1. okey!! this blog helped me a lot !! but i have one doubt !!…i use fb both on my lappy nd on my phn with a messenger !! i can see next to my gf on chatbox there is no green dot on computer …bot in my messenger she used te active in every 15 min !! i just asked her abt this …i just fought with her regarding this …thn after that she is not coming active on my mssenger …but i ask my common frds ..they said she is active !! ….is it possible to make someone offline on messenger !!!! could u plsssss help me !!

  32. Hey, there are a lot of comments here, it’s impossible to read it all, so – did you find somekind of solution how to not let people know when you were last active?

    I’ve been testing this thing a bit, and so far I managed to prevent Facebook from knowing when I’m using my facebook app or messenger on my phone (in the app, account settings > apps > apps others use > untick the ‘my app activity’). But it still knows when I’m on FB via browser, although not as a green dot but people can see me because there this last active timestamp. So whenever it’s “1m” it means that I’m there…

  33. delete FB messenger and install skype mobile, it works, it’s accurate and fast. Plus you can do more with it.

    1. 1) All my friends use FB. Comparatively few use Skype.
      2) Skype doesn’t have push notifications, so the app always has to be running in the background on mobile. This is terrible for battery life.
      3) Skype requires a standalone app on the desktop, while FB Messenger can be used from any browser.

  34. I still am unclear on this matter after reading the above. My apologies, sir.

    If you’re phone is dead, can it still show other people a green dot and indicate that you are using you’re phone, even though you aren’t?

    Is it possible to appear active and indicate that you are using a website if your computer is off? What if it is locked?

  35. Hi.. I have big fight with my girlfriend as she was showing active whole night till 5am.. and i could not sleep seeing her online. I pinged her as well.. she did not reply..I could not digest that and next day morning had good fight with her but she was insisting that she did not logged into fb messenger of fb apps..

    Please tell me if this is due to FB glitch?

  36. hi please can you help clear something up for me, my bf has messenger on his samsung, yesterday he told me he had left his phone at home as he could not take it to work, throughout the day it showed him as active and then unactive as it said active a period of time ago. at one point he was active for two hours, the other times were for about ten mins but this happened about ten time throughout the day. my messages were unread. he swears he never touched the phone and was not working near a computer. is he lying or is it possible that his phone has shown him active several times a day for no reason

    1. phones (the smarter the more they do it) reintalize themselves. some apps update themselves (most people allow all of them to do that) my phone (Samsung galaxy S3) turns itself on when I get emails, texts, f.b. notifications or even game notifications. it’s constantly showing some activity on my screen. also you’d think turning it off before walking away for the day would be a solution, however if you ask him to do so I doubt he’ll do it many times because I’ve come to find out that the longer you’re phone is off the longer it takes the “turn on” process to finish because it will initiate service run all the apps that have notified him, update (or try to, depending on his app settings) & he’ll have tons of notifications to clear & several apps to put back to sleep when it’s all done. plus just so you know the most accurate I’ve ever seen the Google or f.b ping is @least 6 feet away from the proper house (outside usually) I’ve seen the f.b. one states off allot tho (I love to test technology. it’s fun but not always trust worthy)

  37. Good evening!

    Is it possible people see me online in FB at intervals in the night and during the day even i´m sleeping or working and my computer and my phone are turned off?

    Please answer me!!!!! :))))

    Thank you
    Paul

  38. ^ yes, it does do that even if you’re not on. I know many people who are constantly logged on or keep their settings for that off (so they’re constantly off) the only way to really be able to trust fb activity is if they comment or like (it’ll say, about 3 hours ago…etc) but even the Times (ie-posted 7pm thrus…) aren’t always correct. ex-my f.b keeps saying I’m on the coast (I’m actually in the central time zone) so whatever it says posted @5 my time. takes a lot of spy work to try to be accurate about it all. I think the moral is, it’s a social media site to enjoy not a tool for stalking & the Times/notifications can’t be counted on for it

  39. Thank you very much Christina!
    I know that many persons are constantly online even if the computer and mobile are turned off :))) But my question was if you believe it is possible that FB switched on by itself after 1 hour for example and it remains online at intervals ( 3 minutes ) for hours…. What do you think? : )))

    1. This is currently happening to my bf’s messenger. It says online every three minutes and goes off after a minute. Quite strange.

  40. Hey

    I have a question!

    A friend of mine is only using facebook on computer (dosen’t have a smartphone anymore) so it always shows “internet” when she is online.
    But the phone stamp when she is offline is still there, even tho she haven’t had a smartphone for a year or so.

    So when she logs off from the computer, the minutes from when she was last online shows, and these seem to be correct.
    BUT, suddenly sometimes after beeing offline for like 5 hours (when it says 5h on the chat) the time just disapear!
    Does this mean that she is online, only she has turned off the chat for me?

    Today also I know she was online 12 pm, because she saw my message, but when I logged on like 1 hour after this, it said that she had been offline for 1 d !
    And i talked to her when she was online like 6 hours before that, so this doesn’t make any sence to me!!

    Is it her who have turned off the chat or is it a facebook problem?
    She keeps saying she doesn’t turn off the chat when she is on facebook, but I don’t know what to think……

    Please help!

  41. God I am so glad I found this blog. I have been convinced my partner has found someone new. She shows as active now on Facebook Messenger a LOT….but she claims not to be using it. One night she was out and I completely spazzed when she wasn’t talking to me – because FB Messenger showed her as Active Now. When I challenged her about it, she said she had no clue, hadn’t touched it, until she went to bed sometime later. I did start to wonder if there was some weird linkup between Facebook app and Facebook Messenger as showing her as active now or simply unlocking her phone was doing this. Her Active Now status almost always tie up with using WhatsApp with me….I wasn’t sure I believed her, but looking at all the comments here….

    1. yes there is a linkup with fb mobile app and fb messenger…. You can be on fb mobile app posting or browsing and it will say active now on fb messenger also and vice versa…. Sometimes like stated above you can be off both and it will say you are active now….

    2. That’s how I feel about my bf, like right now as I post this, it says he is active and its funny cause we just talked about it. its been active for a hour now but we got off Skype at like 9.46 ish

  42. omg people, if your relationship ends over this then the universe did you a favor. I came here because fb showed me that my son had been online when I knew that he hadn’t, was curious if someone used his acct or if fb was wrong. Really, if you have so little trust for someone you should let them go to someone who has respect for them. And vice versa if you’re getting grilled over a website then spare yourself the jealous tirades and ditch the relationship.

  43. okay so if it says My boyfriend is off and he’s “sleeping” at 10 and then suddenly he’s active at 11;48 and then goes off for a bit and suddenly is active again at 12;23. hes not actually up or hes up and just fucking with me?

  44. Well, this has to be one of the most extensive web pages about Facebook’s green dot. That doesn’t mean all the information is good, but it is extensive.

    I’ve researched the green dot elsewhere, too, and what I’ve concluded might be useful to other people, so here (in no particular order) are some of my conclusions about FB’s green dot.

    1) You can’t trust the green dot.

    The green dot is affected by many different things, and you can’t get 100% reliable insight from it about someone’s activities. You just can’t. If you’re looking for simple answers, you’re out of luck. Bummer, right?

    2) How it operates has changed over time, and is most likely still changing.

    Like so much else on FB, how it works is a moving target. FB changes its software constantly, and the interface/rules that were valid earlier may be different today, tomorrow, next week, etc. Not only that, FB rolls out software changes to smaller groups first, so your green dot may be controlled by different rules, compared to mine. When I’ve googled this issue, I usually search only for pages within the last year, because I figure that older pages are unlikely to reflect the current rules. Hell, even pages from yesterday may be wrong.

    3) How it works may be significantly affected by how heavily-loaded FB servers are, by the quality of one’s cell phone data connection, by “Internet weather,” by local issues with your phone’s OS, etc.

    Most non-critical Internet services are affected by these kinds of things.

    4) As far as I can tell, FB is not talking.

    Try this search: https://apps.facebook.com/help/search/?query=%22green%20dot%22

    Official FB help is not very helpful.

    You would expect that given the interest in presence info, FB would have at least published a simple matrix of status indicators, and what they’re supposed to mean. As far as I can tell, they have not done this. It seems possible that they don’t want to precisely define it for the public, because it’s not reliable and it changes over time. They may view it as a potential liability if they describe a function that doesn’t always work the same way.

    5) Broadcasting detailed, realtime info about presence is a new cultural/emotional phenomenon.

    I don’t think the tech is up to the task, and certainly the culture is not. People are obviously confused and concerned about what all this means. Given that many people have 100s of FB friends with whom they have diverse relationships, it seems crazy that FB would provide this kind of presence info by default, with such crude privacy controls — but they do. See #6.

    6) Facebook doesn’t care about you.

    See #5. The fact that FB (by default) provides this kind of presence info to all of your friends is yet another indication of how little you mean to FB, compared to their bottom line. For example, FB could provide a privacy setting that would disable the green dot entirely, while still allowing you to chat. The fact that they don’t is a conscious, corporate choice. I believe it’s because knowing the presence status of your friends significantly increases chat use, thus increasing user engagement, and FB revenue. They will have weighed this privacy option and decided against it. Sucks, right?

    7) People who keep harping that you just shouldn’t care about trust issues related to the green dot — are annoying, and should STFU.

    While it’s true that a good relationship is hopefully based on trust that obviates concern about FB status indicators, not all relationships are good, or are established long enough for this kind of trust to exist. And the only way this trust develops at all is as a result of experiences collected over time. Seeing how a gf/bf’s behavior aligns with their statements is something we do all the time in many areas besides FB.

    That said, it seems certain that the green dot is so unreliable that you’d be a fool to base major relationship decisions on it. But that doesn’t mean that the green dot should be of no interest to you.

    8) It would be great if someone stepped up and created an online clearinghouse for info about green dot (i.e. FB presence) issues.

    I think you could sell enough advertising to make this a viable activity. At least according to my Google searches, there’s no quality reference point for these questions — mostly endless forum posts.

    9) You may see authoritative-sounding posts about the green dot that are actually nonsense. Such posts may be based on misunderstandings or bad info. They may also be trolling. I’ve found no authoritative info, and even if there were some, it might be invalidated by FB software changes. See #1.

  45. Then when “active now” with the green button up appears does that mean that the IPhone users are chating now with someone or they are just checking facebook news feed? please i need a confirmation!

  46. This happened to me recently and me and my boyfriend broke up because it showed I was online throughout the night and crazy morning hours when I was sleeping and when he asked me I wouldn’t reply but still show active 2 seconds and then 5 minutes and then again 1 second ago. And because I’m saying I was sleeping he thinks I’m hiding something and I really just want to show I’m not lying but its difficult because that night my phone updated so I’m thinking it is why it was linked to fb.

    1. Hey
      I have the same problem
      My husband is usually showing as ‘active now’ on Facebook late at night and he says he was sleeping and didn’t touch it at all. He is using Samsung galaxy s3 and has Facebook app installed he doesn’t logout from this app. Can anyone plz tell me what does that mean and why is he avtive on Facebook when he claims he is sleeping and didn’t touch it.

  47. Thank you so much for this post. Reading all the comments makes me feel a lot better knowing I’m not alone, and that it really is inaccurate and the time stamp and online status problems could be due to a multitude of things.

  48. Ok well my fb messenger app has -afaik- always been accurate so far. Today (my birthday), my boyfriend and I were chatting bc I had to spend the day with family guests from out of town so I can’t see him til tmrw. So we were chatting and then he stopped answering, which he does sometimes even while texting or he sometimes just takes hours to text back. The numbers kept going up normally (I closed and reopened it periodically like 5 times bc I wasn’t sure if it was just not working or what. So after like 40 mins past, I was just like okay well I’ll just leave him alone til he answers me bc I didn’t know what else to do. Then I was back on messenger about 15 mins after that to chat with someone else and I opened the convo just to see if he’d come online and it said active 3 minutes ago. So I sent him another message which also got ignored and the numbers started going up again normally. An hour later I checked again and it said active now. At that point, I got mad and sent him an angry message. Less than a minute later, he opens it and then calls me and tells me he was driving and couldn’t answer and he wasn’t getting notifications.
    Opinions? Bc I find it strange for him to suddenly be online JUST when I got mad & also why would he be driving for 2 hours straight but still be in the same part of the city where he lives?! Am I just being paranoid because my last boyfriend cheated on me or does this seem fishy to anyone else? Because he keeps insisting that he was driving (he was with his (single) best friend though so idk what they were doing together but ik he was there bc when he called me his best friend said hey to me in the background.) What’s going on because I’m going crazy and I almost broke up with him because I’m 99% sure he’s lying but my mom told me to wait and see if it happens again before doing something that I might regret..

  49. My question is, when my girlfriend says she is going to sleep, ill get on facebook like2 hours later and it will say she was active 20 minutes ago on messenger, but I know she wasn’t because she has to wake up really early for school, and it periodically says she is active all night, it will say active now, then 20 minutes ago, then it will say active now again then active 35 minutes ago, is there a logical explanation for this? Is it because she doesn’t log out of facebook on her desktop or her smartphone? I really need answer please, we got into a couple of arguments over this. Thanks

  50. My friend says he wasnt online on PC, not even home, but green light was on. I sent two messages which were immediately marked “seen”. A couple minutes later the green light went out. I know for a fact that he wasnt home at the time and has no mobile FB…so what happened? How could those messages have been seen if he wasnt online???

  51. if i choose to be offline to one friend of mine on chat(web),will it be the same on my mobile?(or she can see when i am last active?)

  52. Hi I have had similar problems with it showing my bf being online at various times throughout the day and I also got a little weird and worried… BUT I just want to reassure anyone like me out there that fb is just innaccurate, I don’t know why it’s so random but it literally would say he’s online or has been online 2mins, 7mins etc ago but he was sitting next and we were watching YouTube on his phone!

    1. Omg. I hope this is true cos I keep saying the same on this guys messenger (that ive known for 2 month’s now) thats hes “active” and im thinking whose he chatting to this late? All this time it kept saying active now every 5 10 minutes even now.. and I stopped myself from asking him cos I didnt wanna seem stalkerish lol but it bloody bugged me when he was online at times and he cant even chat to me?? God I hate messenger now..thank god I googled this and found the reason

    2. My guy does watch youtube alot that I know…they need to sort this problem out as it causes so much worry for ppl in relationships.

  53. I got the same problems as you guys. But after reading all this I’m pretty sure that the “Last Active” can’t be trusted. And IF it can, well… Then I’m fucked… Because then I got a girl that is constantly ignoring my messages.

  54. Had an argument over this when a bf said he went to bed at 12.00pm. An hour later i started to see him being online let say 1m ago – 7m ago continually. He then got angry with me assumed that he’s up to no good while he said he was asleep. My question was how can this possibly happen, when he’s NOT ONLINE i can clearly see that his Facebook status will shown as “Messenger ” (if he hasn’t come on fb messenger for over an hour, if less than an hour it will shown as minutes/hour) When he’s ONLINE, I can’t tell weather the “active now” is incorrect or right?

    An hour and a half later, now his Facebook messenger has been idled shown as “Messenger” means he hasn’t been on Facebook for few hours.. Likely i like to think like that but its weird when you came to think twice that somethings up because this usually doesn’t happen.

    Anyone who came across this kind of typical situations please let us know.

    Regards,
    En

  55. I’m talking to someone on Facebook, on messenger. It will show he hasn’t been active like 6 hours and then the timestamp will be gone under his name on my mobile. What does this mean?

  56. Similar things are happening to me. Fb keeps changing my last active time from 1m to 7m constantly! (While chat is turned off and im not using the app) Sometimes it stucks on active now. But no green dot is available. Just the time stamp. it stops it only when i turn off cellular data or wifi. we tested this problem with a friend. Her fb seems to be working differently. When she is offline the whole day the time stamp was accurate. Only When she sent me a msg (while her chat was turned off) the time stamp was changed.

  57. This feature needs to go. Have been having problems with my boyfriend for months over this. It is tearing us apart and I’m not sure how much longer we can last. He has snapped pictures of Chat showing me as active starting around 4:00 a.m. I am NEVER up at 4:00 a.m. There really is now way of defending yourself. It all comes down to trust. I have had 2 other friends of mine who have had this same issue, but they have overcome this obstacle. This Chat feature, to me, really is just a snooping tool. Who cares if you can see someone as active or not. Send your message and they will either get it or they won’t. If it’s important, call them on the phone. Tonight is the night – either he stops sending me pictures that it showing me online – or I’m getting rid of Facebook. He means more to me than Facebook Chat. You can’t imagine the hurt and mistrust this has caused us. Not sure we can or will recover. I prefer not to be another Facebook statistic.

  58. No one mentions the free calling aspect of this problem. My GF says she was sleeping and the status showed active 3 hr. ago. Then it changed to on mobile for messenger and her FB page active. I used the free calling and it rang but there was no answer. Suddenly it went to Active 2 min. ago. and it say free calling is unavailable. I tried this with other friends all of which were inactive. For a few the phone would ring with no answer but for most it said free calling unavailable.

  59. my boyfriend is in the U.S army and he got his phone taken away until the end of the month.. However, I was just on fb this morning and it said that his fb was active 38 mins ago. This better be inaccurate because i was furious lmao

  60. Ok. See, my boss is a firm believer that the ‘active now’ thing is VERY accurate. He has scaled me for being on Fb during work, when I hadn’t even been on it since that morning. He won’t give in to any other explanation since he is set on thinking its dead accurate.
    Ive been looking for ways to stop it since the damn thing could cost me my job! I will not be on the phone at all, all day and he still will say ‘it’s illegal to b on Fb while driving!’ And I never was! But I can’t say that cause its ‘just an excuse’ to him…. I have limited my Fb activity to a bare minimum just so this wouldn’t happen (even when I’m just at home) and it still does :/ I wish Fb gave the option to shut it off. Cause I’m highly considering deleting my Fb because of it. And I really don’t want to do that. But I also don’t want to lose my job because of a glitch!
    I do not have the newest Fb app downloaded, the one I have is actually an older version (I never update any apps). I have an iPhone 4S and I still have the original black layout.
    Is my only option to totally delete Fb all together? Or is there any other ways? Cause I don’t have the Fb messenger app downloaded, any messages I get is just on the Fb app itself.

    1. Goose…and all others, really…it’s a sad commentary on the nature of everyday life when your employer or significant other takes more stock in FB Messenger for reliable information than feedback from their employee or partner. You can see from previous posts here–and your own experience– that the unfortunate “active now” feature is total BS. It doesn’t sound as if your boss would be open to considering the comments provided by websites such as this. You could block him/her on FB, but I don’t suppose that would go over well, either.
      I’m on FB, too…but determined that FB is strictly out to suck up all the info it can for whatever purposes they want, and to hell with the users. You have to be pretty careful who you “friend” and the possible blow-back involved…as in your situation. Live and learn. You can’t do much about the attitude of your boss…Might want to update your resume.

  61. I have used the phone feature in the new Messenger a couple of times (international and domestic). When I am actually on a call using the messenger app, does my FB status say Active Now? I would assume it does, but have not seen any definitive comments on this in particular.

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