The Other Inbox on Facebook is being replaced with Request to Chat

Some of you don’t know that there is the Other Inbox on Facebook. Since most of you use Facebook on mobile, you may never come to know about this not-so-important Facebook feature – and as it so happens, it is a bad feature. For example, there was a time I linked my Facebook to my Bio below and a number of you used to send me questions regarding a tech product or article. The problem is that I used to respond to these messages several days or months later sometimes after the request was already outdated. That’s because the sender wasn’t my friend on Facebook thus Facebook directed their messages to my Other Inbox – an Inbox I hardly check – and some of you never do.

This Other Inbox has had it’s worse repercussions. As Josh Costine of TechCrunch reports, a friend of his “once received a Facebook message from his long-lost brother he was separated from at birth 30 years ago in Vietnam. But he didn’t see the message for six months because it went to his Other Inbox. It took a LinkedIn request before he realized what he was missing.”

The solution?

Before the introduction of the Other Inbox on Facebook, all messages used to go straight to the Inbox. This wasn’t cool as those people you really do not want to talk to would still flood your Inbox with nonsensical messages. Spammers too were hard to ignore. This is why Facebook has thought this through and has decided that instead of reverting back to the old All-in-one Inbox, they should introduce a second layer of Facebook Request – where the first layer is a person sending you a friend request.

The second layer, a feature that is currently being rolled out globally, is where someone can now send you a request to chat. On Facebook Messenger, Friend Request to Chat will go on top of the Messenger from where you will be able to review a brief profile of the person who has sent you the request including info on where they live, where they work, and the mutual friends you two share.

If the person is someone you would rather ignore, you will be able to go ahead and ignore them, and the beauty is that they won’t be told that there request to chat has been rejected. If you accept their request to chat, then you will have allowed them to chat with you straight from your normal Inbox.

This feature will be important especially to those whose Facebook friendship quarter is already filled up. As it stands, Facebook allows ordinary you and me to have a maximum of 5000 friends, a quarter that has been reached by many Kenyans who add whoever send them friendship requests. If you are the 5001 person, you won’t be able to be friends with them on Facebook, no matter how close you are. For the two of you to be friends therefore, the person whose friendship list is filled up must unfriend at least one person to create room for for the new friendship request.

The alternative would be for you to send them a message, but since Facebook will send this message to the Other Inbox, it may take decades before your message is read. But once this new feature of Request to Chat is rolled out, everyone will see a notification that someone is interested in chatting them, review the chat request, and either accept or reject accordingly. This then means that two people who are not friends on Facebook and have been locked out from being friends will still be able to chat instantly.

Is this a feature that will make you have better interaction on Facebook? My answer is yes.


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