When you use Facebook's integrated instant messaging service, known as Facebook Chat, all of your conversations are automatically saved in the Messages section of the site. Switch to the Messages screen at any time to see your chat and message history, sorted by contact. The tool includes the option to delete, archive and forward messages if required. There's also a powerful search function that makes it easy to find instant messages from the past.
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Open Facebook and click the "Messages" link. Recent chats are shown first. Scroll down the list of contacts to find older messages.
Click on any contact name to see your conversation history with that Facebook friend. The most recent communications are shown at the bottom, above a reply box where you can continue the chat. Scroll back up to see older messages.
Click inside the search box at the top of the contacts list to look for a particular friend or keyword inside your chat and message history. Enter the relevant text and press "Enter" to run the search. Select any of the results to see the full conversation.
Open the "Actions" drop-down menu at the top of any conversation to perform actions such as deleting or forwarding individual messages, erasing the conversation or archiving it. Note that deleting messages does not affect the copy held in the other contact's inbox.
Tips and warnings
- Archiving conversations hides them from the Messages screen but does not delete them completely. They are still accessible to searches and will reappear the next time the conversation is updated.
- You can also access your IM history by clicking on a contact in the Chat sidebar. Recent messages with this contact then appear in a pop-up window. Facebook combines the communication from Chat and Messages into one integrated conversation with each of your contacts.
- To get a local copy of your IM history you can download all of your data from Facebook in a compressed archive. The download link is on the "General" tab of the "Account settings" page.
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