Facebook recently announced that they’re planning to make a major change to their messaging service. Here on the Htet Tayza blog I ask whether you’re going to miss something you probably didn’t even know about.
Launched in 2004, Facebook has gone on to become the most famous social networking site in the world. It now boasts a staggering 1.5 billon users – just under a third of the planet’s population. It pioneered a number of social networking innovations, such as it’s iconic messenger service, that have since gone on to become staples of the medium.
The messenger service allows you to receive messages from your Facebook contacts in your account’s inbox. But did you know that you actually have two Facebook inboxes? You probably didn’t – most people don’t – but the ‘other’ inbox is where you receive messages from people who aren’t your friends on the social networking site.
The BBC reported that Facebook has now decided to scrap this ‘other’ inbox entirely. The feature will be phased out and eventually it will be replaced by request system. This means that messages from people who aren’t your friends on the site will arrive as “requests,” which you can then accept or reject as you would normal friend requests.
Facebook vice president David Marcus explained the new Messenger Requests feature in a post on the site. 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 added, “now, the only thing you need to talk to virtually anyone in the world, is their name.”
The move has been hailed and criticised in equal measure. One commenter on Marcus’ post said that “this means women will get creepy messages directly in their inbox. They used to be able to ignore them as they went to the others folder.”
It was praised, however, by Rebecca Smith. She is one of the co-owners’ of a group of British bloggers that has more than 3,000 members. She noted that the admin messages they send their members often fall into the ‘other’ inbox, and this means that these messages don’t get viewed. Smith said that with this change, “our messages won’t be missed and people can’t claim that they haven’t been spoken to.”
Htet Tayza’s opinion
You may not have noticed the ‘other’ inbox when it was there, but you’ll certainly notice its absence. For better or worse the introduction of the request messages system will alter the way we interact with people we don’t count as friends on Facebook.