Hide your Facebook online status from your nosy boss


Illustration: Walter Appleton Clark/Library of Congress
Illustration: Walter Appleton Clark/Library of Congress

Chatting on Facebook has become rather de rigueur for many of us these days, as the social networking giant makes it easier and easier to stay in touch via its blue and white website and dedicated mobile apps.

If you’re anything like me, chances are that your buddies chat you up as often on Facebook Messenger as they do on iMessage. This multiple platform chatting solution is all fine and dandy when you’re just dealing with your friends, but what about the boss? Your mother in law? That friend who is trolling your Facebook page to see why you’re not at her party?

You need a way to hide the fact that you’re online and chatting from these folks, and we’re going to tell you how.

turn off chat

Open Facebook in a web browser and then click on the chat bar in the lower right corner. This will pop up a list of all your online contacts.

Now click on the Settings gear in the upper right corner of this new popped up window, and choose Advanced settings from the menu there. You’ll get three options: Turn on chat for all friends except (blank), Turn on chat for only some friends and Turn off chat.

If you want to just hide from everyone (and let’s face it, some mornings we all do), click on the Turn off chat radio button.

Otherwise, decide if you have a larger number of contacts you want to see your online status or a larger group you’d like to stay hiding from. If the former, click on the radio button next to Turn on chat for all friends except… and then add the few names you want to exclude from seeing your online status in the field below.

If the latter, click on the Turn on chat for only some friends option and then type in the name of the few buddies you’re willing to let know when you’re online on Facebook.

Simple, right? Until Facebook brings back the per-contact status notification feature, this is the best way to tune your list of nosy folks who can see if you’re working or wasting time on the AOL of our time.

One note of caution, though — the iOS version of Facebook or Messenger does not respect this hiding behavior. So, while you’ll be safe chatting with folks while on the web, if you chat on your iPhone, you’re out of luck.


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