We are going to explain how to hide yourself as much as possible on Facebook Messenger, the social network’s messaging application. For this article we are going to focus exclusively on the mobile version of the application, since on the computer you have this service integrated into the Facebook website itself and its messaging system.
Sadly, Messenger has very few privacy options as it’s not entirely a standalone app. Some of the changes you will have to make directly in Facebook, but we are going to guide you through all the changes that you can make from the same application.
Here, remember that Messenger will always be linked to your Facebook account, so your privacy and how much you hide will depend on the options you have in it. If you need something to stay more hidden, there are more options to hide on WhatsApp or hide on Telegram.
No need to give your number or Facebook profile
There is one thing where Messenger has the edge over WhatsApp, and that is that you don’t need to give someone your phone number or your full Facebook profile address in order for them to write to you. For Facebook this is easy to do, as the messaging app is centralized around your account.
What it allows you to do is, instead of a phone number, create a username with a short link. This way, you’ll be easier to find and reach, and you won’t even need to add this person to your Facebook so they can find you and send you messages. Of course, you must bear in mind that from your Messenger profile it will be linked to that of Facebook, that is, others will be able to find you.
In order to create a username, you have to go to the Messenger application and click on your photo on the top left. In the menu that opens, click on the Username option, where you can create a personalized one, edit the one you have or save the link to contact you in the mobile clipboard to be able to paste it into the conversation of another application.
Manage the privacy of your Facebook account
As we have said, from your Messenger profile it will be linked to your Facebook profile. You cannot separate your Facebook account from your Messenger account, but you can make your Facebook profile more private so that if someone accesses it without being your friend they cannot see your content, and thus you have more privacy.
The quickest way to make your personal account more private is to go into the Privacy Settings Checkup options, whose direct URL is facebook.com/privacy/checkup. Here, you will have different points or steps with which to review your settings one by one, and thus decide who can see your content, your friends lists or your real data. You can even turn off being found on Facebook.
…or create a second account for Messenger
And if you don’t want to complicate your life so much, you can also choose to simply create a new account just for Messenger. This can be useful in cases where you need to use Messenger, but you prefer not to have your real profile with your data. Come on, you can have a total division in the profiles in case you don’t want your personal account to be so hermetic.
In this case it’s simple, creating a Facebook account is free, and then you just have to log in with it on Messenger and create a personalized address. Here, you will be able to add several accounts to Messenger from the Manage accounts option, so that you can use both profiles without problems.
Change your profile picture
It’s time to be clear here, to change your Messenger profile picture you have to change the Facebook one. Therefore, do not search in vain for the option in the messaging application because you will not find it. Instead, you will have to enter the Facebook application or its website, and access your profile to change the photo.
And since we are mobile-oriented, in the Facebook app you only have to click on your profile picture. You will enter the profile, and in it you have to click on the Edit profile option. In it, click on the Edit button of Profile Picture to put one that also applies to your Messenger account. If you want to hide as much as possible, the ideal is not to use a photo with your face, since then you will be easily identifiable.
You can also use an avatar
In the Messenger app, when you tap on your profile picture to enter the menu with your name, you can tap on the Avatar option. This is used to create an avatar with a personalized face and the clothes you want, and this doll will act as a profile picture on Messenger.
Here, if you want to hide yourself as much as possible, it is recommended that when designing your avatar you do it so that its appearance is different from yours. Thus, it will be more difficult for other people to identify you within the application.
Hide when you are using the app
Like almost any messaging app, Messenger also has an activity indicator. This means that you will appear to other users as Active when you are using the application, so that they can know if you are looking to write to you at that moment.
If you want to hide yourself and not have this indicator appear, you can hide the activity indicator. To do this, in the app click on your profile picture, and when the menu opens, go to the “Active” Status option, and deactivate the option to Show when you are active so that no one knows if you are connected to Facebook or the app messaging.
Decide who can write to you directly
Although this will not make you more invisible to other people, it can help make it less annoying when strangers write to you. Specifically, Messenger allows you to configure which new messages arrive directly to the chat and which go to the *Message Requests folder. For example, you can make sure that only messages from your Facebook friends reach you directly in the chat, while the rest are filtered to that folder that you can look at whenever you want.
To configure this, you have to click on your profile picture on the top left to show the menu. Here inside, click on the Privacy section, and within it click on the Message Delivery option. You will enter a screen where you can define how the new messages that three groups of people send you act.
You can set up new messages from people who find you only by having your phone number, from contacts you have added to your friends within Facebook, and from other people on Facebook. In these cases, you can choose whether when you start a conversation it will go directly to your chats or to the message requests folder. Or if you prefer, you can also block any of these groups so that they cannot directly write to you.
When it comes to blocking someone, you don’t have to worry if you’re going to block them on the social network as well. Messenger has options to block contacts without making them on Facebook, that is, you can continue to see their content and that person yours, but they will not be able to write to you.
Ignore messages from certain people
Receiving notifications of messages that people send you can make you look at them, and by doing so the other person can know that you have done it. But there is something you can do, ignore people so that their messages go to the Spam folder. You will also be able to block contacts, but by ignoring them the other person will not notice anything.
To do this, you have to hold your finger on one of the chats to show its popup menu. In this menu, you have to click on the Ignore messages option that will appear. By doing so, you will not receive notifications of their messages, and they will be moved directly to the spam folder so you will not even know that they were sent to you.
The other person will not be notified of anything, they will simply have no idea if you have connected or not, and will only see that you have not read them. In this menu you will also be able to simply mute someone’s messages, or mark a chat as unread in case you regret it as soon as you read it and you don’t want the other person to know.
Post stories only for a few
And if what you’re worried about is that other people beyond those you want can see the stories you post on Facebook, don’t worry. You will be able to configure them so that they are not public and only your friends see them, but you can also make it so that only certain people you choose can see a story, something that will help control your privacy.
For that, start the process of creating a Facebook story. After taking or choosing the photo and editing it, do not click the Share Now button. Instead, first click on the Privacy button at the bottom left. On the screen you enter, choose the Personalize option, and you will go to a screen where you will choose the contacts you want to be able to see it.
What about the read receipt
I have some bad news, and that is that Messenger does not have a way to deliberately prevent you from reading messages without the other person knowing. Therefore, you are going to need to be very careful to avoid it if you want to go unnoticed or unnoticed when a person is writing to you.
One option is to limit yourself to reading the message notifications that you receive, although when they write to you a lot, not all the content of the chat may appear. You can also try to read the messages keeping the mobile phone in airplane mode, but then, when you immediately remove it, the other person will know how far you have read.
Another option is to mark a message as unread after reading it. But here, if the other person is just looking at Messenger when you do it, they might realize what you’re trying to do and that you’ve read it.
And what about the rest of the options?
Unfortunately, Messenger is one of the worst messaging applications in terms of privacy, at least when we focus on the options available to go unnoticed. Many controls are missing, and you will always have your account tied to Facebook.
If what you are looking for is privacy, WhatsApp has many more options available to hide you from others, and another great alternative that is even more versatile is Telegram. Today, the usefulness of Facebook Messenger depends on how much you use