The thumbnail circle of death is what I call it, and Google Chrome once again comes to the rescue.
Facebook Messenger calls it a ‘read receipt.’ When you receive a message from someone on Facebook Messenger, there’s a confirmation symbol that appears for the sender. It basically starts with an empty circle, then changes to a circle with a check mark when the message has been sent, and the circle fills up with a solid blue when the message is delivered. The thumbnail circle of death appears when you read the message, with your profile picture inside it. The sender then knows that you’ve opened and read the message, so you can’t deny it!
Google Chrome has an extension that is now used by over 300,000 people to stop Facebook Messenger from changing the status of the blue circle into the thumbnail circle of death. Obviously, it’s a Google Chrome extension so you can only use it through the browser on your mobile or desktop, not on the Facebook Messenger app itself.
Still, it’s nice to know you don’t have to reply to Aunt Maggie’s “did you get a chance to wear that hard-knitted sweater I sent you for Christmas?” right away.
Next, Christmas, you can just say: “Sure Aunt Mags, in fact, I wore it so often that it started to fray and fade, so I had to donate it. No, I didn’t get that message you sent me on Facebook, actually.”
This Google Chrome extension is actually very useful for those pesky friends who expect you to reply instantly when you read their message. The extension gives you total control over the chat application on Facebook, which is basically where the Facebook Messenger app for mobile originated. You can manually change the status to ‘read’ when you’re ready to reply to a message, so they don’t get suspicious when they get a response and they haven’t seen the read receipt notification come through.
The extension is aptly called Unseen, and you can get it on the Chrome Web Store. It’s an extremely lightweight Google Chrome extension at just 205 kb, so it won’t drag down your browser speed or anything. All it does is block a single line of code to disable read receipts.
Of course, it’ll still show them that the message is delivered, but they won’t know whether you’ve read it or not until you choose to let them know. It also blocks the ‘typing…’ notification so if you’re tapping out a message and change your mind, they won’t know. And no more invasive ‘Last seen’ either.
The best part, you can turn Unseen ON and OFF at will.
Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t see fit to put such functionality on its Messenger app, unlike WhatsApp or iMessage, but now you don’t have to worry about that any more.
The funny thing is, this extension has been around for ages, now, and out of 1.86 billion Facebook users, only 300k know about it and use it!
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