Read Receipts Unavailable in Channel Conversations
Microsoft has promised to deliver read receipts for private chats for some time. The roadmap item (51552) was revised from Q2 2019 to Q3 2019 and now we’re into 2020. As announced in Teams User Voice, the good news is that the read receipts feature has started to appear in Office 365 tenants for Teams desktop and browser clients. Microsoft says that it can take up to two weeks for all users to see read receipts in browser and desktop clients once roll-out starts for a tenant. The Teams mobile clients has had the necessary user interface for a couple of months to allow testing of read receipts by tenants in the Technology Adoption Program (TAP).
The admin documentation for read receipts says “Read receipts allow the sender of a chat message to be notified when their message was read by the recipient in 1:1 and group chats 20 people or less. Message read receipts remove uncertainly about whether a message was read, and improve team communication.”
Read receipts are not supported for Teams channel conversations. As explained below, the implementation of read receipts in Teams uses a simple visual indicator to show when a message is read. Collating who has read a message in a busy channel imposes a much larger performance penalty to gather the data and there’s some extra user interface needed to present the data.
A Wink of an Eye
Teams read receipts are different in concept and implementation to email read receipts. Instead of an explicit notification coming back through email, Teams signals that someone has read a message by posting a eye icon (Seen) beside it. Figure 1 shows the two icons you can expect to see; the first is Seen, the second is the tick mark showing that the message is Sent (but might not be read).
In a group chat, you can find out who has read your message through the […] menu (Figure 2). When everyone in the chat has read the message, the icon changes to Seen.
User Settings for Read Receipts
Controls over read receipts are available at personal and tenant level. Users can set read receipts on in the Privacy section of Settings in the Teams desktop and browser clients (Figure 3). On a slightly inconsistent note, the setting is under Messaging in the Teams mobile client.
Turning read receipts off in your account means that Teams won’t tell other people when you read messages. It doesn’t affect read receipts for your messages to other people unless they also disable the feature.
Guest users don’t have any control over read receipts. Guests can see if other users have read their messages (if allowed by the user), but they can’t block read receipts generated when they access messages.
Teams administrators can control read receipts through messaging policies. When applied to a user account, the policy dictates if the feature is turned off, always available, or can be controlled by users. Figure 4 shows how the setting appears in a messaging policy as viewed through the Teams Admin Center.
I don’t see any good reason to disable read receipts, especially if you’re trying to move people away from email and they are used to having read receipts. However, it’s nice to have the administrative control at such a granular level allied to the user control through client settings.
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