Is the online status of Facebook Messenger correct?
Facebook: correctly interpret “now active” and “active x minutes ago” on the iPhone
About the status of the Facebook Messenger ads “now active” and “active x minutes ago” (afterwards also: “active x hours ago” and “active x days ago”) there are mostly guesses and rumors. Is the Facebook friend now active in Facebook, what is he doing and when did he read a message?
We have tested the behavior of this display in numerous combinations and on different operating systems - and can make the following general statements:
1.) Facebook status in Messenger "now active"
As "now active" ..
… Facebook describes activities in Facebook itself, ie on your own timeline or on that of friends and acquaintances, but also in Facebook Messenger. Whenever you pick up something on the Facebook servers or send something or log in, activities are measured on the Facebook servers that originate from your own Facebook account, and Facebook logically refers to this as “activity” - so it leads to a status message “now active”.
NOTE: Logging out of Facebook is a special case, which Facebook does not designate as an activity and therefore does not include “now active” or “active x minutes ago” in the display.
2.) Facebook status in Messenger "active x minutes ago"
If the Facebook friend is not active for more than a minute as described above, the message “Active x minutes ago” appears:
They are displayed in the following time windows:
Active 1 minute ago
active 2 minutes ago
Active 59 minutes ago
NOTE: When determining an activity, it is irrelevant whether someone is logged into or logged out of Facebook, whether the app has started on the iPhone or whether the timeline is only displayed without being edited.
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3.) Facebook status in Messenger “active x hours ago”
After 59 minutes of inactivity as described above, the information is displayed in hours:
Active 1 hour ago
Active 2 hours ago
Active 23 hours ago
NOTE: With the display “active an hour ago”, the Facebook friend can mathematically be inactive for 1 hour and 59 minutes.
4.) Facebook status in Messenger "active x days ago"
After 23 hours and 59 minutes of inactivity, the information is displayed in days:
active 1 day ago
Active 2 days ago
Note: All status reports are not always up-to-the-second and live. Sometimes they can also be displayed with a 2 or 3 minute delay - even if the status display is updated manually.
In summary, one can say that the display “now active” or “before ((time)) active” does not mean that someone on Facebook has started the app or that the Facebook window is displayed on the computer. The display also says nothing about whether a Facebook user has started the messenger. “Active” in the sense of Facebook actually means whether a Facebook user is “active”, that is, clicks or taps on something in his or her timeline or on others, or writes in Messenger. Simply reading a message that has already been loaded, for example, is not covered by the Facebook term “active”.
If a Facebook user does not click or type anything for 60 seconds, i.e. no longer initiates any action on Facebook, Facebook interprets this as inactivity and after a short time the status “active 1 minute ago” appears.
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Hardware and software used for this post
- iPhone 6 with iOS 8.3 and Facebook v 29.0 and Facebook Messenger v 26.0
- Samsung Galaxy S2 with Android 4.1.2 and Facebook v 126.96.36.199.15 and Facebook Messenger v 188.8.131.52.13
- PC with Windows 8.1 and Chrome v 42.0.2311.90 m
- Mac with OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 with Safari 8.0.5
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