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This person is unavailable on Messenger: What it means

Can't contact someone on Messenger? Try this guide
Last Updated on March 16, 2024
Person holding a smartphone with chat messages on the screen against a multicolored background, displaying "This Person Is Unavailable On Messenger.
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If you’ve tried to send a message on the Facebook Messenger app, you might have encountered this frustrating little phrase: “This person is unavailable on Messenger.” But why does this error pop up? And what can you do about it?

There are several possible reasons, and thankfully, most are easy to understand and fix. In this guide, we’ll break down the following:

  • Common causes of the “This person is unavailable on Messenger” error.
  • Possible troubleshooting steps to try.
  • How Facebook (owned by Meta) determines who you can and can’t message through Messenger.

Understanding the unavailability message on Messenger

Encountering the message “This person is unavailable on Messenger” can be puzzling and, at times, frustrating. This notification on Messenger, a platform developed by Meta (formerly known as Facebook), indicates more than just the unavailability of the person you’re trying to reach. It suggests various possibilities regarding the status of the user you’re attempting to communicate with and their interaction preferences on the app.

Offline or busy

The simplest explanation for receiving the “This person is unavailable on Messenger” message is that the user might be busy or offline. Messenger, being an instant messaging service under Meta, allows users to communicate in real-time.

However, if the person you’re trying to reach is not currently active on Messenger or their device is turned off, Meta’s system might temporarily show them as unavailable.

Privacy settings or account deactivation

Privacy settings on Meta platforms, including Messenger, are designed to give users control over their interactions. If someone has adjusted their privacy settings to limit who can contact them or has decided to deactivate their account temporarily, you might encounter this message.

Account deactivation removes the user’s profile from the visible timeline, making them inaccessible on Messenger during this period.

Blocked or removed

A more personal reason behind this message could be that the user has blocked you on Messenger. Blocking someone on Meta’s platforms restricts them from contacting you, seeing your timeline, and even finding your profile in searches. If you’ve been blocked, the app will not notify you directly, but the “This person is unavailable on Messenger” message serves as an indirect indication. Similarly, if the person has removed you from their friend list or Messenger contacts, you might face this issue.


How can I fix the problem?

Encountering the “This person is unavailable on Messenger” message can be disheartening, especially if you’re unsure why it’s happening or how to address it.

While the exact solution depends on the underlying cause of the issue, there are several steps you can take to attempt to resolve the problem, or at least understand it better.

Whether the issue stems from a temporary glitch, privacy settings, account deactivation, or you’ve been blocked, taking proactive steps can help you navigate this situation more effectively.



Update the Messenger app

  • Outdated apps can cause glitches.
  • Go to your device’s app store (Play Store, App Store, etc.).
  • Search for “Messenger” and see if an “Update” button is available. If so, update the app.



Check your settings

  • Open Messenger and tap your profile picture (top left).
  • Go to “Privacy” or a similarly named settings section.
  • Ensure the setting for “Who can message me” isn’t overly restrictive (like “Friends Only” if the person isn’t your friend).



Clear all messages from the other user

  • Open your past conversation with the person you can’t message.
  • Look for an option like “Delete” or “Clear Chat.” (This varies slightly based on your device).

Warning: This deletes your past messages with them, so use it as a last resort before seeking help.



Contact the person outside of Messenger

  • If possible, use another method (text, social media, etc.)
  • Ask if they’re aware of the issue or if they changed any Messenger settings recently.



Restart your device

  • A simple reboot sometimes fixes temporary software glitches.
  • Try this before resorting to more drastic measures.



Seek help from Facebook

  • If none of the above work, consult Facebook’s official Help Center for further troubleshooting or to report a potential bug with Messenger.

How to check which problem is correct

Sadly, the “This person is unavailable on Messenger” message doesn’t tell you why it’s happening. Here’s a quick way to narrow things down:

  • Can you message ANYONE on Messenger? If yes, the issue likely isn’t your app or settings. If no, look at the troubleshooting steps below first.
  • Do you KNOW the person is online? If they’re active on Facebook, but you can’t message them, they either blocked you or have restrictive privacy settings.
  • Have you been able to message them before? If this problem is new, it might be a temporary glitch, or they deactivated their account.

Next Steps:

Let’s troubleshoot this issue further. Try these steps in order:



Determining if you’ve been blocked

Sadly, one reason for “This person is unavailable on Messenger” is if they’ve intentionally blocked you on Facebook.

Here’s how to tell:

  • Check Their Profile: Can you still find their Facebook profile by searching? If it completely vanishes and mutual friends say they CAN see it, you’re likely blocked.
  • Look for Missing Content: Have your old tags in their photos disappeared? Are shared Facebook Memories gone? This is another strong sign of blocking.
  • Ask a Mutual Friend: If you have a mutual friend you trust, ask them to check if the person’s profile still exists for them.



Software issues: Still unsure?

If none of the blocking signs are there, the issue is likely technical, not personal.

Follow these steps:

  • Update Messenger: Make sure both you and the other person are using the latest Messenger version.
  • Restart Devices: Try a full reboot of both of your devices (phone, tablet, etc.) as a simple fix.

Final thoughts

Seeing the “This person is unavailable on Messenger” alert can lead to confusion. Typically, this means the user has blocked you, deactivated their account, or there’s a technical issue with Facebook. It’s essential to understand that such restrictions apply across Meta’s platforms, including Facebook, Messenger, and Facebook Lite.

It’s crucial not to attempt bypassing a block, as it violates privacy and could result in account suspension. Meta, which owns Messenger, Instagram, Threads, WhatsApp, and more, prioritizes user privacy and safety. Account policies across these platforms are consistent in enforcing user boundaries.

Understanding why you’re seeing this message allows you to respond appropriately, respecting others’ digital boundaries and navigating Meta platforms responsibly.

Andrew is one of three co-founders of BGFG, the parent company of PC Guide. A keen gamer and PC enthusiast, Andrew dabbles in a bit of writing sometimes - when he gets the chance to!