Facebook’s New “Hidden” Messages

You may not have noticed one of the small changes to the Facebook platform recently. After all, there have been quite a few updates to both the web platform and mobile apps lately. While some changes have been small and nothing more than an inconvenience in your routine (“Where the blip is the ‘Events’ tab now?!”), other changes have dramatically changed the user experience of the popular social networking site.

This month I noticed an important change to my Messages on both the website and iPhone app:

While I assumed all of my messages were going to my “messages” folder where I would be notified of them and be able to review them, it turns out I was mistaken.

The addition of the “Other” tab (shown above) in the Messages toolbar means that you are not notified about messages deemed low priority, from people you interact with less or from people you may not be friends with yet.

Although there were few messages of importance in my ‘Other’ folder, there was a time-sensitive opportunity in the folder that I would have really liked to receive. Most of the other people I missed messages from found another way to contact me through my blog which lists my e-mail address and various social media profiles, and the majority of the messages were mass-messaged from an event or a page I “liked”.

While I appreciate not being spammed by events and pages on Facebook, these are events I have RSVP’d to or pages that I have an interest in, so is it really fair to assume I didn’t deem those messages a priority? While the spam protection benefits the Facebook “super-users” who are invited to hundreds of events and Like thousands of pages, these users are more likely to appreciate all the missed notifications and are more likely to discover their “missing” messages in the ‘Other’ tab due to their increased use of Facebook. However, this option (much like the transition to the Facebook Timeline) is open to criticism from less tech-savvy users who don’t use the platform as heavily and may not notice and appreciate the separation.

Judging by the dates of the unread messages I had in ‘Other’, this change came into effect at some point this summer. Did you know about this change to Facebook? Have you missed any important messages?

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5 Comments

  1. December 14, 2011 / 12:33 am

    Yup! This summer someone from an international newspaper published daily online (M-F) and weekly in print with a circulation of 70,000 people according to Wikipedia reached out to me via Facebook about Social Media Day Toronto 2011. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the message until July 7 (it was sent June 29th, the day before SMDay) so I completely missed that opportunity. I wasn’t exactly pleased to say the least! Thanks Facebook!

    • December 14, 2011 / 10:38 am

      Oh no! That’s so annoying…
      Sounds like you figured it out earlier than I did though!
      I thought it was strange a few weeks ago when a company kept insisting they sent me a FB message but I hadn’t received anything yet.

  2. December 14, 2011 / 12:31 pm

    I’ve missed several offers for comp tickets and even one for free beer that I have never really gotten over. 🙁

    • December 14, 2011 / 3:57 pm

      For future reference – if anyone wishes to provide me (or ZJ) with free beer, you are instructed to get in touch with us EVERY SINGLE WAY POSSIBLE and make sure we confirm receipt of your message.