What Does “This Person Is Unavailable on Messenger” Mean?

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Have you ever tried messaging someone on Facebook Messenger, only to be met with the notification "This person is unavailable"? I‘m sure we‘ve all seen this confusing error message pop up at one point or another.

As a social media expert and technology enthusiast, I‘ve done some digging to get to the bottom of what this notification means and how to fix it. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the reasons you may see "This person is unavailable on Messenger" and provide troubleshooting tips to resolve it.

Why You See "Unavailable" on Messenger

Let‘s first understand why this message appears in the first place.

They Blocked You

The most obvious reason is that the person blocked you on Messenger. Blocking prevents all communication between you and that person in both directions. When blocked, you can‘t message them and they can‘t message you.

You won‘t get an explicit notice that you‘re blocked. But if someone constantly shows as "unavailable" and you can‘t view their active status, they most likely blocked you.

They Don‘t Have Messenger

Messenger is now a standalone messaging app separate from Facebook. So even if someone has a Facebook profile, they need to also have the Messenger app installed to receive and send messages through it.

If the person you‘re trying to reach removed Messenger from their device, it will show them as unavailable.

Their Account is Disabled

If someone‘s Facebook account gets temporarily disabled or banned, either by Facebook or by choice, it will make them unavailable on Messenger too. They‘d need to reactivate their account to access Messenger again.

They Deleted Their Facebook Account

Similarly, if the person deleted their Facebook profile completely, they cease to exist on Messenger as well. Unlike disabling an account, deleting it is permanent. You likely won‘t be able to contact them through Facebook/Messenger anymore if they deleted their profile.

Technical Issues

Sometimes the "unavailable" notice shows up due to a technical glitch or app malfunction rather than anything to do with the user‘s account.

Problems like unstable internet connectivity, bugs in the app, or server outages could cause Messenger to display someone as unavailable even when they can still receive messages.

How Often Does This Error Occur?

To understand how prevalent this error is, let‘s look at some data:

  • According to Facebook, Messenger has over 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide as of December 2021.

  • In a survey conducted by Statista in 2022 across 10 countries, 37% of respondents said they had trouble receiving or sending messages on Messenger.

  • Of those who reported issues, the most common problem was messages not sending or receiving properly, experienced by 76% of respondents.

While Facebook hasn‘t provided specifics on how often the "unavailable" error occurs, based on anecdotal evidence and user reports it seems to be a relatively common problem plaguing Messenger users.

With over a billion active accounts, if even a small fraction of users run into this, it can amount to millions of "unavailable" errors per day.

How to Fix “This Person is Unavailable on Messenger”

Now that we understand why this message shows up, let‘s talk about how to troubleshoot and fix it when you run into the issue.

Check Your Internet Connection

An unstable internet connection can sometimes cause Messenger to erroneously display the unavailable message.

Try closing the Messenger app completely and reopening it after connecting to a strong WiFi or cellular data connection. Restarting your phone can also help resolve any temporary network issues.

Update the Apps

Make sure both the Facebook and Messenger apps are updated to the latest version available. Outdated app versions commonly suffer performance issues that can interfere with messaging functionality.

Updating them ensures you have the most recent bug fixes and optimizations enabled.

Try Facebook Lite

Facebook Lite is a stripped down version of the Facebook app for regions with poor connectivity. It has messaging built-in without requiring Messenger, so you can try messaging the person through Facebook Lite to see if it works around the error.

Unfortunately, Facebook Lite isn‘t available in all countries and is only on Android currently.

Use Facebook on Desktop

Attempt to message the person through the Facebook website on a desktop computer instead of your mobile app. If the message goes through there, it indicates something may be specifically wrong with the mobile version of the app.

Unblock Them

If you think you may have accidentally blocked this person yourself, log into your Facebook account settings and check your blocked list. You can unblock them right there.

Of course, this tip only applies if you blocked them in the first place. If they blocked you, unblocking yourself won‘t make a difference.

Reach Out Elsewhere

If you still can‘t message them on Messenger, try sending them a message on another platform like Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, or even plain SMS.

This helps confirm if they have you blocked everywhere or just on Messenger specifically. If they reply elsewhere, you know your issue is isolated to Messenger.

Ask a Mutual Connection

Reach out to any mutual friends you share with this person and ask if they know why you may be unable to message the user.

Since your mutual connections don‘t have messaging issues with the person, they can provide helpful insight into whether the person deleted their account, blocked users, or has messaging disabled currently.

When Should You Worry About Unavailability?

In most cases, the "unavailable" status indicates the other person took deliberate action to block communication on their end.

However, here are some scenarios where you may need to investigate further:

  • The person is expecting an important message from you and needs to receive it urgently.

  • It‘s extremely out of character for this person to block you without explanation.

  • You share close family, business or financial ties where urgent communication is vital.

  • The unavailable status appeared suddenly without any incident or reason between you two.

  • Trying other communication channels doesn‘t reach them either.

In these cases, I recommend reaching out to mutual connections to check if they know anything about the person‘s account status or ability to message.

If there are still concerns about their well-being or ability to communicate, you may need to explore contacting them through other means like phone, email, etc.

Troubleshooting Questions and Answers

I know experiencing Messenger issues can be confusing and frustrating. So let‘s cover some common troubleshooting questions:

Why does it say "message unavailable" on Messenger?

The "message unavailable" error typically means the message failed to deliver for some reason. This could be due to poor connectivity, glitches with the app, or issues on the recipient‘s end preventing message delivery.

What does it mean when it says "person isn‘t available on Messenger"?

This usually indicates the person you‘re trying to message either doesn‘t have Messenger installed, blocked you, disabled their account, or deleted their Facebook profile altogether.

Can someone see my messages if they blocked me?

No, blocking prevents all communication in both directions. Any messages you send to someone who blocked you will not go through and will remain unseen.

How do I know if I‘m blocked on Messenger?

You won‘t get an explicit notice that you‘re blocked. But if the person constantly shows as "unavailable", doesn‘t read your messages, and you can‘t view their active status – they most likely blocked you.

Why does Messenger say "You can‘t reply to this conversation"?

This happens when you try to respond to a very old Messenger thread from years ago. For privacy reasons, Messenger disables commenting on inactive conversations after some time.

Can you get unblocked on Messenger?

You cannot directly get yourself unblocked. The only way is if the person who blocked you decides to unblock you on their end. However, you can try reaching out elsewhere to request they unblock you.

Key Takeaways and Preventative Tips

To recap what we‘ve covered:

  • The "unavailable" error typically means the user blocked you, disabled their account, or doesn‘t have Messenger.

  • Check your own connection, update apps, use Facebook Lite, or message on desktop to troubleshoot.

  • If issue persists, reach out elsewhere or contact mutual friends for insight.

  • Don‘t worry about unavailability unless urgent communication is required.

Here are some tips to avoid running into this situation in the first place:

  • Be thoughtful in Messenger conversations to avoid offending others.

  • Don‘t message excessively if someone hasn‘t replied to you in a long time.

  • Periodically check that important connections still have Messenger.

  • Monitor your account for any malicious blocking activity.

I hope this guide gave you a detailed look at why you may see "This person is unavailable" and how to troubleshoot it. Let me know if you have any other Messenger questions!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.