Hiding your Facebook “last seen” activity.

I’m guessing you’re here because you want to hide your last seen activity on Facebook.

In the past, Facebook allowed you hide yourself completely by turning off the chat feature. Back then, your friends could not see the time that you were last active. There was none of this “2 minutes ago” or “1 hour ago” business. Instead, it simply stated if you were online or not. Nowadays, things are a lot different, as your friends can see the time that you were last active on Facebook or Messenger, regardless of whether you have your chat status set to online or not.

I went years thinking that my Facebook friends could not see my last activity. That was until one of my friends brought the topic up at lunch. The previous night, he had messaged his girlfriend and told her that he was tired and that he was going to bed. After an hour of trying but failing to get to sleep, he decided to browse Facebook. This eventually led to an argument, as his girlfriend checked his last active time in the Messenger app and saw that he had been online after he had told her that he was going to sleep. This led her to assume that he was lying to her about going to sleep because he didn’t want to chat with her.

“Why don’t you just disable your chat status like I do?”, I asked. “I tried that but it doesn’t work!”, he replied. He then took out his phone and proceeded to show me my own last active time.

Crap.

Facebook app.

From what I have read, there is no way to hide this “last seen” time on Android or iPhone – or on any of the mobile platforms, for that matter. It is built into the Facebook and Messenger apps and there is no way to turn it off! Unfortunately, the only solution is to avoid using both of those apps during periods of time when you don’t want to be seen online (when you don’t want to reply to somebody’s text message, for example). The solutions that I have seen elsewhere tell you to change the chat status to offline, which clearly does not work.

Desktop version.

On the desktop version of Facebook, it seems that you can block the script that updates your last seen activity by using the Ad Block extension.

In the background, the Facebook website makes Ajax requests to URLs such as:

It is suspected that this is the script that updates your last seen activity on the website version of Facebook. By using Ad Block’s custom block list, you can prevent your browser from making any requests to the specific URL. In the custom block list, you can use the following line:

A couple of warnings about this method:

  • Facebook could change this URL at any moment in time, rendering this method completely ineffective.
  • After adding the above line to your custom block list, you should test it. i.e. Refresh the page a few times and then get one of your friends to check if it worked.
  • Performing actions such as logging in, liking stuff and sending messages may update your last seen status. i.e. If you login to Facebook, it may update your last seen activity, regardless of whether you have the above URL blocked or not.

Seems like a lot of hard work, don’t it? My advice is that you should just stay off Facebook during times when don’t want to be seen!

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