Back in February, the partner of an old college friend messaged tech journalist Daniel Emeryvia Facebook to let him know his friend had died. Unfortunately, the message was filtered, so Emery only got to see it two months later.
That is just one of the horrific stories reported by users who discovered a glitch in Facebook’s message system. Some complained about finding important messages after discovering the so-called filtered inbox.
In case you didn’t already know, Facebook is hiding messages from you in a secret inbox you didn’t even know existed. It doesn’t do it on purpose, but an algorithm found by IT support in Winnipeg, seems to be overzealous in its actions. Unfortunately, while some of the messages filtered are spam, other times, they are important pieces of information with major consequences.
Discovering there’s a whole hidden inbox can be frustrating, but can it affect your personal brand? Read on to find out.
You’ve probably heard about Facebook’s old Other inbox, a mysterious folder where messages from non-contacts were sent to die. Last October, Facebook removed this secret inbox and created Message Request, a folder where the social network would gather messages from people who aren’t your friends.
But, there’s a catch.
Some users realized there is now a third category of messages – Filtered Messages – that they had no idea existed. These messages are what Facebook marks as spam and, as a result, it doesn’t even notify you about their existence.
In other words, if Facebook thinks there’s a chance you might know the sender, they will send you a message request. Otherwise, it will assume it’s a spam, and it won’t bother to notify you about it.
How to Access Facebook’s Filtered Messages
If you are using the Facebook Messenger app and want to see your hidden messages, just follow this simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Open the Facebook Messenger app and tap on the “Settings” button on the bottom right corner.
Step 2: From the “Settings” menu, click on the “People” tab.
Step 3: Now tap on the “Message Requests” button. In the “Message Requests” folder you will see messages from people you might already know. Some of those messages might be spam. If you scroll down all the way to the end, you will see another section called “See Filtered Requests.” Click on it.
Step 4: Read messages from long lost friends who reached out to you three years ago to reconnect
If you are using a desktop device and would want to know what messages Facebook has kept secret from you, worry not, there’s a how-to guide for computers as well.
Log into your Facebook account and click on the “Messages” tab located under the “Favorites” button. Next, click on the down arrow next to “More”. Select “Filtered” from the drop-down menu.
Can This Problem Impact Your Brand?
If your brand – personal or professional – is on Facebook, any problem the social network faces has the potential to damage your image. Just think about it, if you are trying to develop a strong reputation, you want prospects to be able to contact you. Imagine if hundreds of customers complained about your product or service, but you never heard about it because the post office lost their letters. It would be a reputation disaster.
Not being notified when you receive a new message can be frustrating, especially if you’re a public figure. Facebook has tried to perfect its algorithm to make it easier to catch the messages you want to see. Unfortunately, they are faced with a Catch 22 situation. If it continues to strengthen its algorithm, then important messages will continue to end up in the filtered inbox. But, if it relaxes its filters, your inbox will soon be flooded with spam messages – and you wouldn’t want that.
So, what can you do to ensure no message gets unnoticed?
For now, all you can do is monitor the Filtered Messages option regularly so that you won’t discover important messages two years later. Many users are trying to urge Facebook to modify its message features or to create a more clear spam folder. Gmail and Yahoo, for instance, have a system in place that sort through messages, but you can easily see their spam folder and look into it if you want. But, until Facebook address the issue, all you can do is keep an eye on the secret inbox.
Have you checked your secret Facebook inbox? Did you find anything interesting there? We’d love to hear your thought on the issue.