Facebook has a secret second inbox
Is that Facebook hiding from you? Are you missing messages that you never knew existed? Depending on your Facebook settings, it is extremely possible that you are getting messages from old friends, clients and the like but are not getting notifications. Slate magazine writer Elizabeth Weingarten recently lost her laptop in a New York cab which is how after a meltdown, she discovered Facebook’s second inbox.
After a long panic over a lost laptop, the journalist came to discover that a good samaritan had found her laptop and attempted to message her on Facebook. Her privacy settings (like most people) were set to allow non-friends to message her privately, but the Facebook system does not include these messages in the overall inbox count, nor does it notify the user, so the good samaritan was messaging into space without Weingarten’s knowledge.
Facebook only sends you a notification if you receive a message in your main inbox from a Facebook friend, but the default privacy setting is to allow any user to message you, thus it creates an entirely separate inbox where other users and pages can message you.
To check your super secret second inbox on Facebook, click the link that says “Messages” on the left side of your Facebook home page which shows “Others.” When that is clicked, you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds of messages from Facebook Pages you’ve fanned or liked, friends and clients you are not yet connected with, or maybe the person who has discovered your missing laptop in a New York cab.
Below is how your “Other” inbox appears when expanded. Go look at your Facebook inbox and tell us in the comments what kind of messages you have been missing and if you’ve missed anything important.
Sorry, Facebook Page owners
The flip side of this hidden inbox is that for all of your effort as a business to reach consumers by messaging them through your Facebook Page, you may have garnered very little interest due to so few eyes seeing your messages. This is easily Facebook’s attempt to diminish businesses’ ability to use free services on Facebook, pushing them into the paid ad ecosystem, but the side effect is a lot of wasted effort as well as potential missed connections between business users and consumers (and vice versa).
UPDATE: the solution
There is a simple workaround for the hidden messages problem, click here for the trick.