Facebook: Chat and Messages

Lesson 6: Chat and Messages



Facebook chat and messages allow you to communicate privately with your friends on Facebook. Unlike the other things you share on Facebook, such as status updates or photos, chats and messages will not be shared with all of your friends or posted on your Timeline.

This lesson will mostly focus on the desktop version of Facebook. If you're using a mobile device, you'll need a separate app called Facebook Messenger to send chats and messages.

Facebook chat

You can communicate in real time with your friends using Facebook chat. Also known as instant messaging, this is a popular way to communicate online.

If you've never used an instant messaging client before, you may want to review our lesson on chat and instant messaging from our Beyond Email tutorial to learn the basics.

Using the Facebook chat:

  1. Locate and select the chat box in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  2. A list of friends who are currently available to chat will appear. Select an available friend.
  3. A chat window will appear. Type your message, then press Enter. Your conversation will appear in the chat window.
  4. When you're finished, click X to close the chat window or press Esc on your keyboard.

Sending messages with the Messages tab

You can also send messages to Facebook friends via the Messages menu. This can be an easier way to find people if they're offline or if you're having trouble finding them in the chat box.

To send a message:

  1. Locate and select the Messages icon at the top of the screen, then select New Message.
  2. A message window will appear. Type the name of the person you want to message, and a list of suggested friends will appear as you type. You can click a suggestion to add a friend to the message.
  3. Type your message. When you're done, press Enter to send it.

You can also send messages to your friends directly from their Timelines. Simply click the Message button on a friend's Timeline to start a new message.

To go offline:

Some people do not want to be available for chat while on Facebook. You can hide your online status by going offline.

  1. In the chat box, click the gear icon, then select Turn Off Active Status.
  2. A window will appear, allowing you to choose which of your contacts can see you as active. Select the option you'd like, then click Okay.
  3. Your status will change to offline. Click Turn on Active Status to go online again.

The Messenger

The Messenger is where you'll read all of your private communication on Facebook, including your chat conversation history. Whenever you receive a new message or chat, it will appear in the Messenger. From here, it's easy to read, manage, and delete your chats.

To access your inbox, click the Messages icon, then select See All in Messenger. The Messenger will appear.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the Messenger.

edit hotspotsthe facebook messages inbox

The Messenger app

If you're using a mobile device, you won't be able to send or receive messages within the Facebook app. Instead, you'll need to download and install the Facebook Messenger app. Sending and receiving messages in this app works mostly the same way as it does on the desktop: You can use it for instant messaging and for sending messages to friends who are offline.

the messenger app for android