Facebook Stealth Mode – Disable Read Receipts on Facebook and Stay Invisible
On Facebook and Whatsapp, once you receive a message from your friends, you will be detected online as soon as you click that message. Thanks to your curiosity, you will no longer be offline or invisible anymore. You are already seen on the other end, and now your entire friend circle knows that you are online.
Though the ‘last seen’ thingy is one of the great features on the web today that sort of acts like a receipt that the message has been successfully transmitted and read by the other party, it is still a curse for the people who want to stay invisible. Unfortunately, the way Facebook and WhatsApp had implemented this, there is no option to natively control the ‘read receipts’ at the time of this writing.
So here are some of the other non-native ways in which you can hide your online status in a trusted and secure way and sort of enable the imaginary Facebook Stealth Mode. There is, of course, the well-known crossrider developed Facebook Chat Undetected extension. But it comes packed with adware, and yet Gizmodo’s Lifehacker and TNW reported it without this essential piece of warning. I’m not going to link it here, but you should be aware of the risks if you choose to install it. Coming back to the other trusted solution for Facebook Stealth Mode, it comes down to two extensions.
- Facebook™ Chat Privacy – Let’s you disable the receipt on Facebook web | Chrome
- Message Seen Disable – Allows you to selectively turn off the ‘seen’ feature for particular friends | Firefox
Privacy settings to stay invisible
With read receipts in play, the only way to actually hide from Facebook is to change your privacy settings to a stricter domain. Limit yourself and your posts to ‘only you’ or ‘your friends’. As far as the Facebook chat is concerned, I think you still can choose to appear offline for the people you want. Click the gear icon in your chat windows title bar to explore that option.
Moreover, you can also limit your profile from being tagged by other friends. All these options can be found under the ‘Privacy settings’ menu, and everything is self-explanatory there. Some of the important settings you need to review are as follows.
- Limit what you have posted and all your future posts to only Friends – this prevents strangers from texting you.
- Remove yourself from Facebook and Google searches – option can be found under more settings.
- Limit your timeline for friends – choose who can post comments and who can’t.
- Limit them from tagging you in their pics.
- Some apps might have access to your messages and posts. Find them and remove them or review their permissions.
With all these forced features, I am not sure if Facebook even cares about user privacy. A feature like read receipts in a social network can sometimes cause unfriendly moments. We hope this is helpful enough to keep you undetected on the chat. Let us know if you happen to find other ways to disable the read receipts.
This post was first published on September 12, 2013.