Facebook chat adds an automatic “Seen X:YXab” timestamp when the other person on chat sees your message. Its a cool way to know when your friend read your chats; but when it comes to you, you don’t want them to see that thing some or most of the times.

Here is an example when you need to get rid of that “Last seen” thing. Suppose you read a chat message from a friend but you couldn’t / didn’t reply. The person knows that you’ve already read the message and are not replying after that. And here your privacy on Facebook gets invaded.

Seen timestamp in Facebook chat

Seen timestamp in Facebook chat

So, you’re friends and foes on Facebook already know when you’ve seen their chats. It’s not something like hiding status updates or friend list, where you can tweak your Facebook settings to do the task. Still, can you patch it up?

Is “Seen…” in Facebook chat blockable?

Yes. When you read a chat on Facebook, it sends some data from your side to the server via AJAX. Blocking this AJAX request will also block the “seen” with the timestamp info. Below is the request that should be ditched for so:

https://www.facebook.com/ajax/mercury/change_read_status.php

So basically, by disabling the above mentioned request, we can disable the changing of read status of our chat messages, no matter its two people chatting or its a group chat. Here are some workarounds to accomplish this block with the help of some cool browser extensions.

The AdBlock Plus tweak

Skip to the list of extensions if you don’t use Adblock Plus.

Besides blocking ads, AdBlock Plus also allows you to filter out certain site assets. Here are the step-by-step guidelines to block the above mentioned request using ABP on Facebook:

  1. Log into your Facebook account, and click on the AdBlock Plus icon in your browser window. In the drop-down list, click Open blockable items. You may also use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+V (Mac users should press Command+Shift+V) to execute this action.
    Adblock Plus blockable items

    Adblock Plus blockable items
  2. This will open a box at the bottom of the page saying “Blockable items on current page”. Look for “mercury” using the search box, you’ll be able to see the URL to be blocked at the very top. Right click it and select Block this item…
    Block an item in Adblock Plus

    Block an item in Adblock Plus
  3. Final step, a popup dialog will appear asking “Add Adblock Plus filter rule”. Keep it “Blocking filter“, and choose custom for “Look for pattern” option. Click “Add Filter” button.
    Adding a filter rule in Adblock Plus

    Adding a filter rule in Adblock Plus

That’s it. Your friends will not anymore see any timestamp text even when you read their chats.

Browser Extensions / Add-ons & Apps

What we did using AdBlock Plus can also be done by installing separate add-ons or extensions in your browser or adding certain apps to your Facebook. Here are some cool picks that makes all that task much easier:

  1. Chat Undetected

    The best extension to disable that timestamp text. You don’t need to mess-up with options and settings, just install and you’re done. Supported on Firefox and Chrome.

    Install Chat Undetected

  2. FB Unseen

    With FB Unseen, you don’t need to install any add-on or extensions, as its a Facebook app that you may add to your profile to hide “Seen” in chats. Use below link to set it up:

    Install FB Unseen

  3. Facebook Chat Privacy

    Another good Chrome extension that helps you patch up this invasion in Facebook Privacy.

    Install FCP for Chrome

Note that with most of the above tricks, you’re gonna see messages from your friends being set to unread even after reading them. You have to bear with them at least for the privacy sake. Hope you liked the article. Add a comment or join me on Facebook.