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Facebook Messenger Icons and Symbols: What Do They Mean?

Look to this article to explain the many icons and symbols appearing in Facebook Messenger chats when messages are sent and received.

What do Messenger icons mean?

Hello everyone, it is Frankie here again. I want to provide yet another explanation so that you better understand Facebook Messenger.

Just as it occurred with WhatsApp a while back, Facebook Messenger similarly introduced a system of icons and ticks within a chat to allow users to monitor the conversations and determine the status of the messages they’ve sent to their intended recipient.

So, the system that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in WhatsApp with double tick, changes slightly with Facebook Messenger. While icons are similar in style and meaning, the system itself is more elaborate to better manage all aspects of the conversation you are having.

So, we need to take a look at the various icons and symbols that represent different things in Facebook Messenger. I will explain their meaning, and in some cases, how to resolve issues such as a message that is has not been sent.

Here is what you need to know.

Fully Understanding Facebook Messenger Icons

There is a color-coded system to Facebook Messenger and its icons that allow you to know when messages were sent, delivered, and ultimately read. These appear to the right side of the message within the thread.

Regardless if you use an iPhone or Android device, these icons and symbols will appear the same.

Let’s take a look at what they mean.

Blue Circle

If you see this symbol, this is an indicator that your message is currently sending.

A Blue Circle
A Blue Circle

When you see this icon, the Facebook servers have yet to receive the message, so it has not been delivered to the intended recipient yet.

Blue Circle With a Check Mark

This symbol will show your message has been sent.

Blue Circle With A Check Mark
Blue Circle With A Check Mark

To put it plainly, it means that the message has received Facebook servers. If your recipient is not connected to the internet, your message may stay in this limbo until the message gets officially sent to the intended party.

Tip: You might have this message stay with this icon even if the recipient is connected to the internet if they are not in your friends list. It will reach their profile and be in a “message requests” queue until they open it there.

Filled-in Blue Circle with a Check

This will indicate that your message has been delivered.

Solid Blue Circle With Check Mark
Solid Blue Circle With Check Mark

It also means that the intended party has not read the message as long as you see the icon this way. They have not opened or read your message.

A recipient that is not in your friends list might continue to give you this icon (or the previous one) because their message is in the earlier named queue waiting for them to read it.

Friends might also have this icon last even when you are sure they saw the message, because their phone allowed them to read it from their notifications on the phone rather than to open the Facebook app and alert you the message was read.

Want to learn more? Take a look at my guide on how to become invisible on Facebook Messenger.

Small Contact’s Photo

This means that the recipient read your message.

Avatar Icon
A small version of your friend’s photo
Tip: For further confirmation that your message was in fact read, if you click on the message itself, you will also see the word ‘Seen’ appear along with a timestamp letting you know when it was opened.

In Summation:

  • A blue circle means your message is being sent
  • A blue circle with a check mark means that your message has been sent.
  • A solid blue circle with a check indicates your message was delivered.
  • Seeing a contact’s photo beside the message shows that they received and read the transmission.

Can You Hide a Read Icon on Facebook?

A while back Facebook added a feature allowing you to mark messages as “Unread“.

In fact, it has actually been confusing for some users because they believe they can read a message without the sender knowing that it has been read.

Unfortunately, the Unread feature is just a tool allowing you distort incoming messages and will not delete the icon appearing on their chat feed showing that you have opened and received their message.

Basically, if someone sends you an important message, you can use this feature of Facebook Messenger to mark it as unread so the notification reappears on your phone as a reminder to do something about this text.

It is possible to hide that you’ve read Facebook messages, and in fact, I wrote an entire guide about it. Give it a read when you have a minute.

Is There a Difference Between Sent and Delivered Messages?

Yes, there is a very clear difference between sent and received.

‘Sent’ messages are ready to be delivered to the recipient, but the party is not connected to the respective network to receive it yet.

‘Delivered’ messages have passed this stage and have been accepted by the receiving party but have yet to be read by that individual.


Hopefully what I’ve shared here today has helped to clear up any confusion you might have had about symbols and icons used in Facebook Messenger to indicate message status.

If you have any questions or concerns about symbols used in Facebook, or need to make better sense of an icon used in a message you are sending, feel free to use the comment box below to reach out to me and I can help.

For further tips on Facebook Messenger and other apps, you can follow my YouTube channel or sign up for my newsletter.

A hug,


PS – New to Facebook Messenger? Take a minute and read my guide on how Messenger works ad some of the tips and tricks to make the most out of this service every time you use it.

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About Frankie Caruso

I'm Frankie Caruso. I'm a professional amateur in that ugly business of social media, instant messaging apps and computer security. I help all those frustrated people who call themselves digital illiterates to understand something about this confusing digital world.