Facebook Replaces the 'Other' Inbox Folder with Message Requests
Whether you hated the "Other" messages inbox on Facebook or didn't even know it existed, the underused feature is being replaced with something that's potentially much more useful: Message Requests for Messenger.
Announced earlier this week, the new feature will let Facebook users privately connect with and even phone people who are not currently friends or contacts if the message recipients accept the requests.
Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus revealed the change Tuesday in an update on his Facebook page. He called the new feature a "foundational development."
This latest change comes just four months after Facebook announced that it would be making its Messenger service available to anyone, with or without a Facebook account. That development put the Messenger mobile app on track to becoming even more widely used than it is today.
'Forget Phone Numbers'
Introduced in 2011, Facebook Messenger is an app that lets users chat with or call other people from their mobile phones. The service had 500 million users as of November, compared to a monthly active user base of 1.49 billion for Facebook.
Facebook's latest update to Messenger aims to let users "forget phone numbers," according to Marcus. Instead, the new Message Requests feature will allow people to talk with "virtually anyone in the world" by simply knowing their names, he said.
"We truly want to make Messenger the place where you can find and privately connect with anyone you need to reach, but only be reached by the people you want to communicate with," Marcus said.
Accept or Ignore Requests without Senders' Knowledge
Message Requests for Messenger will replace Facebook's "Other" folder, which appeared only on the Web-based version and tended to be a mostly ignored, catch-all space for spam messages from strangers rather than for greetings from long-lost friends.
A number of commenters responding to Marcus' post noted that the new feature made Messenger more closely resemble WhatsApp, the instant-messaging mobile app acquired by Facebook in 2014. Some also expressed concern about the potential of Message Requests for abuse by online stalkers or harassers, although Marcus made it clear in his update that any new contacts would be enabled only with the permission of the recipients.
Users who receive Message Requests will be able to accept or ignore new requests "without the requester knowing you've read their message," Marcus noted.
"The rule is pretty simple: If you're friends on Facebook, if you have each other's contact info in your phone and have these synced, or if you have an existing open thread, the new messages from that sender will be routed to your inbox," he said. "Everything else will now be a message request, minus spam attempts that we will continue to ruthlessly combat."
Marcus added that Facebook expects to continue making more updates to Messenger in the coming months.
Posted: 2015-10-30 @ 7:43am PT
So Marcus states that it is a benefit to enable users to "forget phone numbers"? Perhaps stated another way, Marcus should have said..."We want our users to forget phone numbers so that they are dependent upon us for communications with their friends. After all, this is more traffic we can demonstrate to our advertisers. Why don't companies just state the truth behind the actions they take?
Posted: 2015-10-30 @ 4:40am PT
I do use Facebook. But more often I use the konstruktor for chatting. I think Facebook isn't safe.