Facebook Allows Users To Turn Off Group Chat

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons Comment

Facebook has bowed to user demands for the ability to turn off chat for the new groups function launched earlier this month.

Inside Facebook reported on the change, which was announced in the form of an answer to a Quora question.

Now users can opt out of chat by going to “edit settings” and unticking a checkbox for “send me group chat messages” to opt out of chat with that group.

The option remains to temporarily decline group chat messages – and all chat messages – by signing out of chat in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

Facebook was initially reluctant to give users the ability to opt out of chat. Yet it seemed to be something that users really wanted, especially to deal with large groups or groups where some members weren’t respectful of other people’s time.

Feross Aboukhadijeh, Software engineer intern on Groups, said in a Quora answer on Saturday: “We recently added an option to turn off chat messages for particular Groups. To do this, go to the Group in question, click ‘Edit Settings’ and uncheck the box for ‘Send me group chat messages’.”

However, he added: “I tend to agree with Boz [a colleague who previously answered the question] here: if you’re annoyed by a particular group’s chats, why not just leave the group? Chances are this particular group is not providing you any real value.”

I don’t know if that’s true. I have some Facebook friends who seem to want to chat constantly. That doesn’t mean that I should unfriend them as I enjoy interacting with them in other ways. Real-time chat just isn’t always my preferred method of interaction, both for friends or groups. Similarly, for a lot of forums and mailing lists that I belong to, I prefer to select daily digest or web only rather than receive every email. Whatever the Facebook engineers think of the matter, I think they made the right decision in listening to user feedback.