Facebook finally kills your frustrating hidden inbox

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Message Request Lets You Chat With Strangers.

Facebook has decided to jettison one of the social network’s least useful features, Other Inbox, in favor of a different way to contact people you’re not friends with. Known as the “other inbox”, it sweeps up Facebook messages from anyone you don’t know and essentially hides them, without telling you they ever arrived. It hands users the ability to determine whether someone is a scammer, a creep, or actually a potential friend without depositing the message in the black hole that was Other Inbox. The replacement, called Message Requests, is rolling out today and it will allow users to reach out to others on Facebook in a more prominent fashion so long as they have your name, according to a report from TechCrunch. As a consequence of such action, your message inbox will be consolidated so that you won’t have that “Other Folder” anymore, and you can accept or ignore new requests without the sender noticing.

With Facebook Messenger used by more than 700 million people around the globe, the company wants to turn its chat platform into a broader directory for anyone who uses Facebook. Messages from your Facebook friends or people you’ve already exchanged messages with will go directly to your normal inbox, while everything else will come in as a request.

In a post by Messenger head David Marcus, shown below, only those messages you receive from those you’re connected to on the social network or whose contact you have on your synced mobile device will be routed right to your inbox. As you may know, Messenger no longer requires you to have have a Facebook account, so this is a way that anybody can communicate without having a person’s phone number or being Facebook friends with them.

Now if you are contacted by someone you are not already friends with, rather than vanishing into the void, the message will generate an alert on the Messages tab on the web, and in Messenger on mobile devices. You can view the original request, which includes some basic information about the person such as their name, location, and mutual friends without them knowing, and choose to respond or filter it out. This update is a double-edged sword in the sense that it will help you notice more messages from non-connections, but it will also make it easier for non-connection to attempt to get in touch with you. “Now, the only thing you need to talk to virtually anyone in the world, is their name”, writes David Marcus, who heads up Messenger at Facebook.

With this new update, Facebook is walking a fine line between simplifying new connections on its social network and making people more vulnerable to being contacted by folks they’re not interested in. The addition of Message Requests will likely be helpful as Facebook’s Messenger platform begins to evolve to bring in more businesses and integrate with third-party services. Facebook users tended to fall into one of two camps when it came to this communication feature — those who were irritated by the way it works, and those who simply did not know that it existed.

True, it could help surface some important messages that would normally go unnoticed, but it can also turn into an additional way for people to receive unwanted messages that would otherwise remain hidden in that other inbox. At the moment, we still rely on old-school identifiers like the phone number, a 10-digit numeric code you’ll likely only receive if you’ve met a person in the flesh and asked them for it. However, a benefit of this could be that message handling is now more streamlined, so that it’s identified as either a message from a contact (yes) or a stranger (no) and will be queued up for you thusly. Any of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users can now contact you, and the message — if it’s not automatically flagged as spam — will head straight to the top of your messenger inbox.

Some people probably are afraid to deal with pending requests out of fear that an “ignore” will signal to the sender that they saw it and issued some kind of response. Rather than adding them as a friend and hoping the source will accept, or paying a fee to Facebook to contact a non-friend, journalists could now directly message them for free. The Prime Minister reinforced this by appointing senior South Australian Liberal, Christopher Pyne, as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and Queensland Liberal, Wyatt Roy, as Assistant Minister for Innovation, saying they would support start-ups and bring together innovation initiatives across the government. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, Expanding Australia’s Economy: how digital can drive the change, concluded that the successful adoption of digital change could reduce Australia’s estimated federal budget deficit by $6 billion and contribute an additional 1.5 per cent to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2024.

Further, if these efforts could be sustained for another ten years, there’s the potential for a $136 billion increase in GDP and 540,000 new jobs to be created by 2034. His family just moves a lot, and they insist on changing their number to the local area code each time. “Phone numbers are kind of a relic of the ’50s” he tells me. “I know [my parents] much better as people.

Names are a much better way of contacting people.” So back in 2010, Facebook tried, and failed, to turn your name into not your phone number, but your email address. The company gave everyone a [username]@facebook.com email address that connected to Messenger, and had the lofty idea that people would route their email newsletters, bills, and more there. The Venture Capital & Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index 2015, compiled by IESE Business School at the University of Navarra, ranks Australia eighth overall, below countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore. Factors pulling us down include low numbers of trademark and patent applications, graduates in science and engineering, venture capital deals, and gross expenditure on R&D.

The more useful Messenger is, the deeper users get locked in to Facebook’s ecosystem where they’ll see News Feed ads and generate data that earns Facebook money. I suggest we focus on three key areas: education, supporting research and development and venture capital, and attracting the best and brightest to our shores. The Economist Intelligence Unit has already ranked Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in the top ten cities in their Global Liveability Ranking and Report August 2014.

Imagine what we could do if we had a supportive government, great local and overseas talent, and an attractive business environment for tech businesses. Benjamin Chong is a partner at Right Click Capital, an investment firm that specialises in identifying, investing in and supporting high-growth technology-based businesses. Same thing with phone numbers.” Now with Facebook, we’ll have openness with control: someone only needs your name to contact you, but you can block them much more effectively. And thanks to Facebook’s spam detection systems that flag recently created accounts with few friends, Messenger can keep blocking them automatically even if they create a new account to try to harass you.

While it might seem respectful to have to ask in person for permission to contact someone in the future, many will feel too awkward to turn someone down. Message Requests could also make Facebook a way to communicate with contractors, short-term business colleagues, or anyone else you want to chat with temporarily, but don’t want to friend or give your number.

The News Feed works for non-essential content shared by businesses, but if they need to reach you to work out details or modify your order, messaging works much better. Imagine one day getting a Message Request from a business you’ve interacted with, then being able to receive important updates or even buy things from them right from chat. Leach concludes, “I can’t help but think of how many dates I missed out on because I was too scared to ask someone’s phone number in the moment.”

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