How do I use Facebook Messenger and what do its symbols mean?

It’s used by over a billion people worldwide, so if you aren’t yet using Messenger, why not? Here’s how to start using it, and what those little symbols mean…

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service, and one of the most popular free messaging apps in the world.

A successor to Facebook Chat, Messenger was issued as a stand-alone app for iOS and Android operating systems in 2011.  Since then, it has added components that allow users to have phone conversations and video calls, both one-to-one and with groups; Android users are now able to use the app even if they are not on Facebook. It now has more than 1.2 billion users.

[Read more: Want to keep Messenger, but leave Facebook? Here's how to do it]

Available for computers and for mobile devices, it lets you send instant messages just as if you were texting on your phone.  Certain symbols will appear after you have sent a message; we'll explain what they mean below.

What do the symbols mean in Facebook Messenger?

Messenger lets you know the status of any message you send on it using a series of circular symbols. These will be visible at the bottom right hand corner of the message speech bubble.

A simple blue circle means that your message is in the process of being sent. A similar blue circle with a tick inside it means that the message has been sent. A filled-in blue circle with a tick means the message has been delivered successfully to the recipient’s phone. Finally, a small version of the recipient’s profile photo will pop up in a circle to indicate that they have read your message.

Facebook Messenger symbols

Can I unsend or delete a message once it’s been sent?

Unfortunately sent messages can't be unsent or deleted from the inbox of the person you sent it to. Depending on their notification settings, they may also receive your message by email.

How do I voice call someone or a group in Messenger? And how do I make a video call?

Facebook introduced voice calls via Messenger in certain countries in 2013, and video calling two years later. Users can call an individual, or make group calls. To call one contact, simply open a message conversation with that person, then tap the phone icon at the top of the screen.

To call a group, open a message conversation with all the contacts that you wish to speak to, then tap the phone icon.

Once you've started a voice call with one or more people, you can make it a video chat by tapping the camera icon.

[Read more: Here's how to comment on Facebook using GIFs]

More from BT