How to turn off Instagram and Facebook's 'Last Seen' functions

Johannesburg - Social networks Instagram and Facebook have without warning begun showing the last time users have been active in their private messaging functions.

While Facebook’s independent Messenger app has been showing user activity for a while, Instagram most recently began showing the last active time of users in direct messages. 

While many users might ignore the feature, others could see it as intrusive. 

Instagram has always had a messaging feature which allows any user to send a private message to any user they follow. 

However, a user's followers on Instagram cannot always see when last another user has been active on the social network. 

The feature becomes active once a user has sent a direct message or communicated with another via the feature. 

Instagram’s Direct message feature - or DM as it is widely known - has become so popular that it spawned memes about 'Sliding in DMs' and even a song 'Down in the DM' by rapper Yo Gotti. 

Facebook’s messaging function was separated from the original app in the Messenger app in April 2015 and has since grown to 1.2 billion users in two years, as reported by the social network.

But the app has recently begun showing all contacts of a user the time they have been active, along with an active icon when a user is online. 

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, followed suit recently when users' last active times became visible next to the name of the user last direct messaged. 

But if you want to avoid being spotted online by stalkers and an ex you really don’t want to chat to, but can’t unfriend, Fin24 has you covered. 

How to turn off online activity on Facebook Messenger

  • Open the Facebook Messenger app;
  • Tap the “People” tab, where you will see a list of contacts;
  • At top of the app page, you will see “All” and “Active”; tap “Active”;
  • Your profile should feature at the top of the list of contacts; toggle the green online button to off; and
  • A confirmation message that your online status is not shown will appear, reading: “You’ll still receive all of your messages if chat is off, but you can turn it on to see who’s active on Facebook.” 


How to turn off online activity in Instagram’s Direct messages

  • Direct messages are accessed by tapping the paper plane within the app;
  • Open the Instagram app;
  • Open your personal profile by tapping the last icon on the bottom right corner;
  • Tap the gear icon next to the “Edit Profile” button to open Options; and
  • Scroll closer to the bottom of the page and toggle “Show activity status” to off. 

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