Chat on Facebook

Everything you need to know about Facebook's instant messaging app

Woman using laptop on couch
Facebook Chatting.

 Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Facebook Chat is Facebook's answer to instant messaging. IM, or chat on Facebook, is really quite easy. All you need to chat on Facebook is a Facebook account, nothing to download or install.

When you log into Facebook you're automatically logged into Facebook Chat so you can chat on Facebook. Just go to your Facebook page and you can start to chat on Facebook right away.

Facebook Chat Tools

At the bottom of every Facebook page, you'll see your Facebook Chat tools. The first of the three Facebook Chat tools is the online friends tool. This simply tells you which of your Facebook friends is online right now. The next Facebook Chat tool is notifications which will let you know if you have any new Facebook notifications right from the tool. The third tool in Facebook Chat is the actual chat tool.

Who's Online?

First, check to see which of your friends is currently online for you to chat with. To do this go to the "Online Friends" tool at the bottom of your Facebook page and see who has a green dot next to their name and who has a moon.

A green dot next to someone's name means that they're currently online and you can start a chat with them. A moon means that they haven't been online for at least 10 minutes.

Click on the name of someone who has a green dot next to their name. A chat box will pop up. Just type your message into the box, hit enter, and you've started a chat.

Leave a Message

Send messages to your Facebook friends even if they're not online. Click on the name of anyone on your list and leave them a message. They'll get the message when they're back online.

Your message to them will show up at the bottom of their browser when they come online. They'll be notified of your message so they can chat back to you. All they have to do to chat back is type a message to you in their chat window.

Sound Notifications

Some people like to have a sound play every time they get a new message on Facebook Chat or any other IM or email program for that matter. Some don't want their computer making noises all day long. This is certainly a personal choice and one that Facebook Chat lets you have.

You can easily toggle your message notification option on Facebook Chat. Just click on the chat menu and then click on the Settings link in the pop-up bar. Where you see the option that says "Play Sound for New Messages" you can either click it on or off.

Inserting Emoticons

Yes, you can use smileys and emoticons in your Facebook Chat messages. Here are a few of the ones you can use:


There are more, test out some of your own. Click on the little emojis button at the bottom of the chat window for the full menu of emojis that Facebook supports

Delete Your Chat History

A lot of people like to delete their chat history after chatting. This keeps other people from reading what they've written. If you want to delete your chat history after chatting just click on the "Clear Chat History" link found at the top of the chat window.

If you want to read over something you've written, but that has not yet been deleted, just open the chat window you used to chat with the person you want to read about. You won't be able to read older chats, though, nor can you view the chat history between you and someone who's not currently online. Hopefully, these options will be coming soon.