Apr 8, 2016

How To Access Facebook's Secret Message Folder You've Probably Never Seen


We all know that Facebook filters its messages. It has to, for one thing: there’s spam that goes through Facebook, and the company has to manage it, just like anyone might. I had been under the impression that I had been looking at all my Facebook messages when I went into the “message requests” folder — apparently messages from people I wasn’t friends with or that the algorithm had deemed suspect. But apparently there’s another hidden folder just waiting to be explored.

You get there slightly differently depending on how you access Facebook. For the website, you go click on the “message requests.” It should bring up a short list of messages. Scroll to the bottom and hit “see filtered requests.” On the messenger app, go to “people” then “message requests,” then the same deal. It brings up a whole section of messages, a sub-basement of communications.

A quick peek in mine revealed a whole lot of spam, an equal number of cranks, and then a message or two that I might have wanted to receive. My girlfriend found a consulting offer in hers. Clearly, almost nobody knew about this thing before a HelloGiggles post laid it out a few days ago, so one wonders what other messages out there in the ether have gone unreceived. It could be especially problematic if you use Facebook for work and expect communication from people you don’t necessarily know.

I’m glad I know about this thing now: I’ll put it on my list of things to check when I check things. Still, the double layering is an odd way to handle the spam folder, something that nearly every other mail or messaging service in existence deals with. I’ve got no problem with letting a computer do some of my sorting, but I prefer to know exactly how it’s going about doing it, and where it’s putting things.

Of course, this is Facebook, and the company’s policy has always leaned towards the idea that the algorithm knows what you want better than you do. This is right along those lines: we’ve always had the options to customize our Facebook experience somewhere, but they’re tucked away to ensure that the vast majority of people never find them. I’ve contacted Facebook for clarification, and will update with any new information.

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