Privacy and Safety in Messenger

Privacy in Messenger

You can find information on how privacy works in Messenger and the tools we provide to help you stay in control of your privacy. For example, you can choose who can see your stories, who can see your active status and more.

You can choose to receive or not receive message requests for the following:
  • People you follow or have chatted with on Instagram.
  • Your Instagram followers (even if you don’t follow them back).
  • Friends of your friends on Facebook.
  • People with your phone number in their phone’s contact list. Keep in mind that someone with your phone number does not need to be an Instagram connection or Facebook friend to reach you.
  • Everyone else on Facebook and Instagram.
You can also choose to have message requests go to your Chats list or Message Requests folder from your settings.
To control who can send you a message request and where they send it to in your Messenger settings:
  1. Open your Messenger app.
  2. From Chats, tap your profile picture in the top left.
  3. From the menu, tap Privacy.
  4. Tap Message Delivery.
  5. Tap on the people you want to control messages for.
  6. Select where to deliver their messages or tap Don’t deliver requests to stop receiving their messages.
Keep in mind that you’ll be able to see more message delivery options after you add your Facebook and Instagram accounts to your Accounts Center. Group chatting across the two apps is also currently unavailable.

Who can send a message directly to my Chats list?
Contacts that can send you a direct message include:
Anyone else you haven’t chatted with before can only send you message requests and can’t call you unless you reply to their message request.

What about spam messages?
Messages that are likely to contain spam may be filtered on Facebook and Messenger, even if they come from people you’ve allowed to send you message requests or messages to your Chats list. This spam filtering will not affect the messages you get from your Facebook friends, but may apply to other messages you receive through Messenger.
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Facebook doesn’t share information with advertising partners or advertisers that personally identifies you unless you give us permission. Personally identifiable information is information like your name or email that can by itself be used to contact you or identify who you are. We also confirm which Facebook ads led you to make a purchase or take an action with an advertiser.
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To see why we're showing you an ad:
  1. Click in the top right corner of the ad.
  2. Click Why am I seeing this ad?. You'll see different reasons for why you're seeing the ad (example: you visited the advertiser's website).
  3. If available, click next to the reason why you're seeing an ad to view more information.
How we decide which ads to show you:
We want the ads you see on Facebook to be as interesting and useful to you as possible. These are examples of things we use to decide which ads to show you:
  • Your activity on Facebook (such as liking a Page or clicking on ads you see).
  • Other information about you from your Facebook account (example: your age, your gender, your location, the devices you use to access Facebook).
  • Information advertisers, their partners, and our marketing partners share with us that they already have, like your email address.
  • Your activity on websites and apps off of Facebook. Learn more about how to turn this off in your ad settings.
Keep in mind:
  • We don't share information that personally identifies you (information such as your name or email address that by itself can be used to contact you or identifies who you are) unless you give us permission. To learn more about the information Facebook receives and how we use it, visit our Data Policy and Cookies Policy.
  • We use information you provide us, actions you've taken on our platforms and actions you've taken on other websites, apps or in stores that those third-party companies have shared, except for any personal information with special protections that you have added to your profile.
Learn more about how ads work on Facebook.
To adjust what ads you see:
If you're seeing ads that aren't interesting to you, you can:
  • Adjust your ad preferences. Visit your ad preferences page, where you can manage things like your interests and your profile information to get a more personalized experience. Learn more about your ad preferences.
  • Update your Ads based on data from partners setting. If you don’t want Facebook to use information based on your activity on websites or apps off Facebook for the purpose of showing you ads, you can adjust your settings.
  • Hide ads from an advertiser. If you're seeing an advertiser that isn't interesting to you, you can hide an ad or hide an advertiser.
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Safety in Messenger

We want to make sure you know about all the safety resources and information available to you. If you see something that goes against the Facebook Community Standards, please let us know.

We care about the safety of our global community, which is why we provide tools to help keep your account safe and secure.
Report bad activity:
If you see something that goes against our Community Standards, please let us know. Learn how to give feedback on or report a conversation in Messenger.
Report accounts that are pretending to be you or someone else:
Accounts that pretend to be you or someone else aren't allowed in Messenger. Learn how to report someone that’s pretending to be you or someone else.
Control your privacy:
You can control your privacy in Messenger by choosing who can see your Active Status, choosing your Story audience, using secret conversations and more. Learn how to control your privacy in Messenger.
Control who can reach your Chat list:
If someone who you're not connected with on Facebook sends you a message, you'll receive a message request. Keep in mind that replying to a message request connects you with the sender and reveals any content they sent you. Learn how to control who can start a new chat with you in Messenger.
Block, hide or mute people that you don't want to hear from:
You can control Messenger notifications for all of your conversations. Learn how to block, ignore or mute people in Messenger.
Scams:
If you see something you think is a scam, you should avoid responding and report the scam to us.

Learn about our safety features:

Different safeguards on Messenger help protect you from sensitive, disturbing or misleading content without us needing to see the content. For example, if someone finds this kind of content on Facebook and shares it with you on Messenger, you’ll only see a hidden preview of the content and have to tap on it to see it.
We also hide media content sent to you in a message request until you accept the request. Learn more about how we protect your privacy on Messenger.
Lock the app on your mobile device:
To add more security and privacy to your Messenger account, you can turn on Messenger’s app lock feature for your android or iOS device.
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We worked with ConnectSafely.org on the following answer.
First, never agree to anything that makes you uncomfortable. Even if someone seems like a friend, they’re not a friend if they’re trying to get you to do anything against your will or best interests.
It’s hard to make a good decision when you’re upset or confused, so you should be as clear as possible in your own mind about what is and isn’t in your own interests. If you need help with this, talk to someone you trust like a close friend, family member or counselor.
  • If you receive any unwanted sexual comments or communication in Messenger, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the conversation. If it doesn’t stop immediately, you should block the person and report any abusive content to us.
  • If someone is asking you to send nude or sexually explicit photos of yourself over Messenger, the simplest answer you can give them is, "No, it's not allowed on Messenger." Sharing nude or sexually explicit photos goes against our Community Standards.
  • If someone is threatening to share things you want to keep private (example: messages, photos), asking you to send them money or anything else, you should contact local law enforcement, block the person and report them on Messenger. Learn more.
  • If you’re under 18 and someone’s putting pressure on you that’s sex-related, contact local law enforcement or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children using the CyberTipline at https://report.cybertip.org or 1-800-843-5678. They have advisers available 24/7 to help.
  • If this person is a relative or someone in your household and you need help, contact local law enforcement, go to https://ohl.rainn.org/online or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Learn more about staying safe on Messenger and Facebook. If you're a teen, parent or teacher, you may also want to view tools and tips about bullying prevention.
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We worked with the National Eating Disorders Association and Dr. Nancy Zucker, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke on the following answer.
If a friend messages you about something that suggests they may have an eating disorder and need help, we ask that you report the message or conversation to us so we can reach out to them and offer support.
You can also offer support. Here are some tips about what you should — and shouldn’t — do if you think your friend may be struggling with an eating disorder:
Do:
  • Check in with your friend about how they’re feeling. For example, you could say, "How have you been doing lately? I’m always happy to listen if there’s anything you need to talk about."
  • Use "I" statements. For example, you could say, "I'm concerned because you didn’t eat breakfast and lunch."
  • If your friend doesn’t want to share or says there’s no reason for you to be concerned, let them know that you care and will be happy to listen if they ever need to talk.
  • Spend time with your friend to show that you care about them (example: talk, watch a movie).
  • Set an example with your own life. Also, don’t make negative comments about your own or other people’s appearances.
  • If your friend says they're not doing well, ask them if they’ve considered talking with a counselor, doctor, nutritionist or other health professional. For example, you could say, "I don't know if this will help, but have you considered talking to a doctor about this?" You can also suggest that they take a free, anonymous online assessment to help them understand their risk of an eating disorder.
Don't:
  • Use accusatory "you" statements, like "You’re not taking care of yourself."
  • Place shame, blame or guilt on your friend about their appearance or actions.
  • Give simple solutions, like "If you’d stop dieting, everything would be fine!"
  • Expect to cure your friend.
For more information about eating disorders, contact the National Eating Disorders Association:
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Images and videos of children being physically abused or sexually exploited are against Messenger policies. If someone sends you an image of a child being physically abused or sexually exploited:
  • Contact your local law enforcement immediately. They may be able to identify and rescue the child.
  • Report the message to us.
  • Notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children using the CyberTipline: Visit https://report.cybertip.org or call 1-800-843-5678.
  • Don't share, download, or comment on the content: It can be criminal to share, or send messages with, photos and videos of children being sexually abused and exploited. You won't be asked to provide a copy of the content in any report.
Seeing an image or video of a child who has been abused can be distressing. We understand that people may be affected in different ways when they view these types of images, and we want to be sure that there are resources available for further support. Facebook has worked with a number of safety experts around the world to identify these resources, including social services and tips for reaching out to professionals. If you, or a child you know, have been the victim of child physical or sexual abuse, or if you've witnessed child physical or sexual abuse and are interested in resources or support services, we encourage you to consider the resources provided by these organizations:
We also offer resources if you need to report a missing person or runaway.
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If you're in immediate physical danger, please contact local law enforcement or a suicide helpline for help.
If you're going through something difficult and the threat isn't immediate, we want you to know there are things you can do right now that may help you.
Talk to someone at a helpline.
Suicide Prevention:
Self-Injury:
Eating Disorders:
Reach out to someone you trust.
Contact someone you trust, like a family member, friend, counselor or teacher, and ask them to let you share what’s on your mind. For example, you could say, "I'm going through something difficult and was hoping to talk to you about it. If that's OK with you, can you take some time to listen?"
Learn about other ways to support yourself.
It can be difficult to focus when you're overwhelmed or can't find a solution to a problem right away. Stop for a moment, take a deep breath and give yourself a break from your feelings.
Try some of these tips from self-care experts at Forefront and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Get out for a while:
  • Go for a walk, jog or bike ride.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Visit somewhere new, like a coffee shop or museum or park you've never been.
Be creative:
  • Draw something simple.
  • Make a nice meal.
  • Write a short story.
Soothe your senses:
  • Meditate or do yoga.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Listen to your favorite songs.
Relax:
  • Look at the clouds.
  • Read a book, magazine or blog post.
  • Take a nap.
If the tips above don't work for you, see more things you can do right now.
If you have a friend who’s having thoughts about suicide or self-injury, you can share these resources with them as well.
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If you encounter messages that indicate someone is in immediate physical danger related to human trafficking, please contact 911 or local law enforcement for help.
To learn more about the signs of human trafficking, visit http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org or contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 to learn about local resources and discuss options.
If you're a victim of human trafficking or would like resources to share with a potential victim, please review the following resources:
  • United States
  • Canada
    • Contact Canadian Crime Stoppers
    • 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)
  • Latin America
  • United Kingdom
    • Blue Blindfold UK
    • 0800-555-111
  • Other Countries
    • National Human Trafficking Resource Center
    • nhtrc@polarisproject.org (they can help direct you to the most appropriate resources in your area)
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If someone you know is in danger, please contact local emergency services for help immediately. After you've called emergency services, connect with your friend or call someone who can. Showing that you care matters. Make sure they know that you're there for them, and that they aren't alone.
If the threat of physical danger isn't immediate, there are things you can do to help:
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