Facebook Messenger Wants To BE Your Phone Number With New Message Requests

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Message Requests now let you contact anyone, even if you’re not ‘friends’.

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.Now, when someone sends you a message who isn’t at least a friend of a friend or has your phone number, it will show up as a ‘message request,’ which you can choose to accept or ignore.

Previously, such messages would show up in a folder next to your inbox labelled ‘other.’ If that doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because it only shows up on the desktop; frankly, I forgot it even existed. It calls this a “foundational development” in the sense that the company will continue to build on the functionality to improve the way people find each other. 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 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. “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,” says David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook. “Now, the only thing you need to talk to virtually anyone in the world, is their name.

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. Basically, it makes messaging someone you just met as easy as it is to add them in the first place, removing a step before you can start communicating. And though it may seem a little more invasive than the old method of just separating messages from strangers, it also makes it easy to communicate with people without having to actually add them to your friend list. 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.

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. 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. That’s probably a reference to Facebook Messenger as a platform, such as allowing businesses to contact you via the IM service (again, without the need to friend each other). The change is being rolled out globally today. “We’ve heard so many stories like estranged parents trying to get back in touch, or you lost your wallet and someone trying to get in touch with you” Facebook Messenger’s Product Manager Tony Leach told TechCrunch.

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 million 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. 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.

Even if you blocked their number, they could always change theirs or use someone else’s phone. “Once you give out your email address you have no idea what they’re going to do with it” Adkins warns. “They could sell it to someone one else. 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. 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. 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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