Facebook recently announced a change to the way the company's messaging system will work. Currently, Facebook's messaging system manages two inboxes, one for known users, and an "other" inbox reserved for unknown users. Facebook users do not get notifications when a message lands in the Other inbox, which often results in messages not being seen. Certain Facebook apps, such as those available for iOS and Android, didn't even offer their users access to the Other inbox.
Recognizing this, the Other inbox is set to be scrapped, and a Message Request system will take its place. Through this system, if a user receives a message from a non-friend, they will receive a notification letting them know there is a request to view a message, and the Facebook user can the choose whether or not to see the message.
David Marcus, the head of Messenger at Facebook, made the announcement on October 27 through a Facebook post. Marcus explained that the goal is 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". The new Message Request system will allow users to "accept or ignore new requests without the requestor knowing you've read their message". Marcus assured users that existing threads will still be routed to their usual inbox without the need to respond to a Message Request.
Message Requests will contain basic information about the sender, such as their job, city, mutual friends (if applicable), and the message itself. The only thing required to send the message to a Facebook user is their name, but the recipient of the message can choose to respond to the message, ignore the message, or permanently ignore the sender. The sender will have no way of telling if their message was read or if it was ignored.
Another hope of the new messaging system is to make it easier to control who can and cannot contact individual Facebook users. Engineering lead Michael Adkis pointed out that "once you give out your email address you have no idea what they're going to do with it"; the Message Request system makes it easier to control who the user speaks to. While the other party needs only your name to contact you, you can block them much easier than before. A user need only delete or ignore a Message Request to receive no further notifications from the ignored user.
Marcus' post called the change a "foundational" one, and promised many more exciting things from the Messenger team as they roll out this new system.
What do you think of the messenger overhaul? Are you a fan?