How to decide which Facebook friends can see you online and which can't

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Judit Llordés
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You can keep your privacy on Facebook. Here's how to decide which Facebook friends can see you online and which can't.

Facebook is quite open about its goals: the company dreams of a world where everyone is always connected. Maybe that's why it's so difficult to appear offline on Facebook. The very idea of ​​“offline” or “invisible” is the antithesis of everything the social network believes in.

However, being "invisible" is not for everyone. Thankfully, it is possible to maintain a veil of privacy while letting your closest friends and family know that you are available to talk.



Here's how to decide which Facebook friends see you online and which don't.

How do people see who's online on Facebook?

When it comes to showing your online status on Facebook and Messenger, the company uses something called Active Status.

Active status appears as a green dot next to your profile picture on Facebook and Messenger when you are online or have recently been active.

The information that Meta provides on the active status is not clear, it differs according to the device on which you use Facebook.

On his for the focus on the computer, the company notes:

The settings you choose will be updated wherever you use Meta products, even if you haven't changed your active status yet.

But for the same guide article, the company notes:

When you turn off the active status, you will still appear active or active recently from anywhere else you are using Facebook or Messenger, unless you also turn off the active status in those places.

We assume that the public settings of Active Status on the computer apply to all sessions on the computer. However, the online status settings must be changed individually for each device on the mobile app.



Focus also has different settings on the Facebook desktop browser version and the Facebook app. In the browser version, you can change your focus settings to only allow specific people to see you online.

However, on the mobile app, you can only turn focus on or off, with no option to select specific people or lists.

Here's how to change your focus settings so that only a few people can see you online.

How to change who can see you online on Facebook

To change the specific people who can see you online on Facebook, you should change the focus settings on the browser version of the platform.

However, it's unclear whether these settings will apply if you use the Facebook app to log into the social media site. So, if you really don't want some people to see you online, we recommend that you disable your app focus (which we'll show you later in this tutorial).

So how do you edit your active list?

To change your Facebook focus settings, follow these steps ...

  • On the right bar, where yours are shown Contact us , select the button with three horizontal dots for options .
  • In the drop-down menu, select Deactivate active state .
  • A pop-up will appear where you can select your options: Turn off focus for all contacts , Turn off focus for all contacts except o Turn off focus for some contacts only .
  • Select the setting you prefer, enter names or lists in the text box and select OK to save the settings.

If you choose to turn off focus for all contacts except , select the specific people or lists you want to see yourself online for.



If you choose to turn off the focus only for some contacts , select the people or lists you don't want to see online. For example, you might want to add your restricted list here, as well as lists such as business contacts or people you have on your friends list just because you didn't want to offend them by refusing their friend request.

How to completely deactivate Facebook online status

What if you don't want anyone to see you online on Facebook? You can appear offline or invisible on Facebook at any time if you wish.

You can completely deactivate the focus on the browser version of Facebook by selecting Turn off focus for all contacts .

When it comes to the mobile app, you only have the option to toggle focus on or off - no modified or custom options are available.

To change your focus on the Facebook mobile app, do the following:

  • Select the Messenger icon at the top right of the screen.
  • Select your profile picture in the Chat menu.
  • Tap the tab Active state .
  • Disable the options for Show when you are active e Show when you are active together .
  • When Facebook asks you to confirm, select disable .

Deactivating your active status also prevents you from seeing when other people are online.


In our test, the deactivation of focus on the mobile app did not carry over to the desktop browser version of Facebook.

How to prevent someone from seeing you online on Facebook

If you're worried that Facebook won't turn off focus for all of your sessions and you really don't want anyone in particular to see you online, one surefire way to prevent this is to stop them from texting you.


How does :

Blocking someone's messages is different than blocking them on Facebook. If you block someone's messages, but don't block them on Facebook, you'll still be able to see their Facebook profile.

If you block someone's messages on Facebook, they too cannot see when you are online.

To block a contact's messages and thus prevent them from seeing if you are online, follow these steps:

  • Open a chat with the contact.
  • Select their name to view a settings menu.
  • Select Block.
  • Choose the option for Block messages and calls.

This will prevent the person from seeing your online status. It will also prevent them from texting and calling you on Facebook.


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