RIP Facebook’s ‘Other’ Inbox, Which Was Mostly for Creeps Anyway
Image: Facebook

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RIP Facebook’s ‘Other’ Inbox, Which Was Mostly for Creeps Anyway

The social media site is replacing the "Other" folder with "message requests."
October 29, 2015, 3:51pm

Facebook got rid of the "Other" inbox on Tuesday, but chances are you didn't even notice.

The obscure folder served as a repository for messages from anyone who was not a Facebook friend or friend-of-a-friend. It was not readily visible on the Facebook site and was completely inaccessible on mobile, making it an often-ignored catch-all for weirdos and missed connections.

Facebook took note of many user complaints about the feature and is now replacing it with "message requests," which allows users to receive messages from anyone and later decide whether or not they want that person to contact them again.

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"We heard from people that the previous system—messages from people you weren't connected to went to a difficult-to-discover 'Other' folder only accessible from the web—was sometimes confusing, and it made them miss messages they would have otherwise preferred to see in a more timely manner," a spokesperson from Facebook told Motherboard. "We believe this new feature will provide much more clarity and control and help people have a better experience on Messenger."

Image: Facebook

Now anyone can search you by name and message you on Facebook, but it will appear as a "message request" in your normal inbox that you can ignore or accept. Unlike the old "Other" inbox feature, this function won't have read receipts unless you move the message to your inbox, so the ignored messengers won't even know you've seen them.

While many people complained about missing important messages about things like job interviews, lost wallets, or long-lost family members, the inbox was often filled with people you'd rather not talk to. For example, a message sent to Motherboard contributing editor Sarah Jeong from a stranger who said he had been sitting behind her at a trial she was covering.

My most notable "Other" folder messages came from my bodega guy after he somehow found my name and included many, many religious videos.

Here are some other messages that graced our "Other" folders before they were removed this week, RIP.

I might actually miss FB's Other inbox because it's a great place for dudes to threaten to kill me that isn't Twitter or email.
— Rose Eveleth (@roseveleth) October 28, 2015

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The "Other" folder can serve as yet another place to be harassed on the internet.

A sampling of Motherboard managing editor Adrianne Jeffries's "Other" inbox.

@adrjeffries yes pic.twitter.com/kstSCWgd0R
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) October 28, 2015

@adrjeffries lol so many memories :( pic.twitter.com/3aTtJwnPgd
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) October 28, 2015

Gawker's Sam Biddle got a lot of great reader feedback by Facebook message.

Andy CushOctober 28, 2015

As did Gawker's Andy Cush.

New York Times reporter Mike Isaac's messages were less intelligible.

An inexplicable yet oddly encouraging message sent to Motherboard's Sarah Emerson.

One good samaritan tried to return Emanuel Maiberg's credit card. This samaritan then left the card with the bank, where Maiberg recovered it, thinking a bank employee had found it. He had no idea until now that a stranger had helped him out. Maiberg sent the stranger a thank you note after discovering this message more than a year and a half later.

Messages sent to Motherboard writer Jason Koebler. "I don't know what it says about me that most of my messages were from people who either want to know where they can make cocaine or who can empathize with being extremely hungover," Koebler said. "As for my 'massively huge fan,' I responded to her yesterday, 18 months later. She didn't remember sending the message."

Some messages from Motherboard Senior Editor Brian Merchant, whose writing about climate change often inspires passionate responses.

Some messages from Motherboard UK Editor Vicki Turk's "Other" inbox.

There are a variety of uses for the now defunct "other" inbox, but mystifying love letters from creepers was, at least anecdotally, the most common. Facebook's new message request feature means you can reject these messages without the users ever knowing. But now that Facebook is bringing these messages into our main inboxes, we are going to be a lot less likely to miss them, too.