Are You Reading All of Your Facebook Messages?

Probably not.

Last year, Facebook switched to the “Social Inbox” so they could sort your messages and let you only see the important ones. Great idea (in theory)! Unless you’re this reporter from Slate, who missed a string of messages about her missing laptop that a man recovered from a New York City taxi.

“It’s not that those other messages aren’t important, but one of them is more meaningful,” writes one of the software engineers at Facebook on the site’s official blog about the Social Inbox’s November 2010 launch. “With new Messages, your Inbox will only contain messages from your friends and their friends. All other messages will go into an Other folder where you can look at them separately.”

This means all your messages from your Facebook friends, including instant messages, emails, and texts sent through Facebook will appear in your regular “Social Inbox” and you won’t miss them (unless you ignore all your messages, which is another issue entirely). But these aren’t the only messages you get.

Where are all your other messages going? Well, actually, they’re going to a separate folder labeled “other messages” that’s been right there in front of your face the whole time, although you may not have noticed or opened it.

Upon opening my other messages folder, I found all the Facebook communication I was missing, and it turns out I wasn’t really missing a lot – although that doesn’t mean that’ll be the case for you. Since January, I had received 171 messages from events and brand pages that I never saw until today. I also missed two spam messages, including:

“hiya Amy. you appear sensational.
email me. my emai is [redacted] for my personal images.
make sure to send it there and not through FB.”

If you’re a brand page holding frequent events, this messaging system has obvious ramifications for you: people aren’t seeing your messages! The “other messages” is basically Facebook’s spam folder. Is there anything you can do about it?

For your Facebook profile: As of right now, there are no settings to change for your “Other messages” folder the way you can for your regular messages. This means you can’t get notified when you receive a message to this folder, or indicate which messages should go where. The only thing you can really do is remember to check both messages folders on a regular basis.

For your Facebook brand page: Just like the Facebook profile, there are no settings to adjust to for brand pages. If your messages are bound to go to the Facebook version of the spam folder and there’s nothing you can do about it, the obvious solution is to stop sending people messages. If you have something important that you want people to see, post it to the news feed where people will see it.

What do you think? Are you annoyed that you’ve been missing some of your messages, or are you happy that unwanted messages aren’t clogging up your inbox? Did you find anything important that you’d missed when you checked the “Other messages” folder or just a bunch of spam? Let us know!

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  • Val

    This is an EXCELLENT post, Shama! I did find some important messages in my “other” folder and I am grateful for your information today. I plan to send my feedback to Facebook. Thanks, again!

    • Amy Rose Brown

      I’m glad this post helped you! Hope you didn’t miss anything too important.

  • Jesse

    Facebook… once again it tries to be too clever by half. The “Other” inbox is an indefensibly stupid idea. Thanks for your post.