Is Facebook Hiding Your Messages?

After last Monday’s post filled with Facebook shenanigans, I guess I should have suspected that said shenanigans would continue until I got around to purging my friends list. I’ve been busy. Living. Working. Haven’t done that shit yet. And well, here’s the tasty nugget I woke up to in my Facebook Messages inbox on Monday morning:

Here’s a slow motion replay of my reactions:

  1. WTF?!
  2. WHO is this?
  3. HOW is this guy a Facebook friend since I don’t know who he is?
  4. WHAT on earth is this dude talking about?
  5. Thanks for insulting me and determining of what I am worthy. Saves me the time and effort. Cause apparently, I’m a BITCH. A bitch who has NO idea what you’re talking about.

So, owning the fact that I’m a complete, disrespectful Evil Lady Who Ignores Facebook Messages – especially ones from people I don’t know who are apparently (and unbeknownst to me) interested in me in some sort of social/romantic manner – I decided to dig into the issue.

As The Facebook Turns – No More Message Notifications

Since Facebook went through its gazillionth change in the past year, I found myself not receiving any notifications of messages and few relating to comments. I was actually pretty delighted for the decreased email volume. So, to see what Mr. Disgruntled was talking about, I took my Evil Lady Who Ignores Facebook Messages self over to Facebook.

Here’s what I see, probably like you when I click on my Messages icon:

I don’t know about you, but I see FIVE messages. If they appear to be unread, I click through and read the unread messages from this window. Given that I can receive up to 20 Facebook messages a day on occasion, if you’re not showing up in this “fast five,” I ain’t gonna see ya.

I scrolled up Mr. Disguntled’s message feed to me and, indeed, he had asked me on November 28 if I’d like to go grab coffee sometime. Prior to that, we’d even shared a 4 or 5 line Facebook chat conversation in early November regarding…the weather. Given that I am ice cube-chance-in-hell visible on Chat, it’s not surprising that I’d forgotten about this exchange. So yeah – he’d asked me to coffee. Sent me a few links. None of which I’d seen. He happened to be friends with a few of my close friends here in Denver, which could explain why he got through my Firewall of Friendship.

But more importantly – how many other messages was Facebook hiding from me with their new notification system?!

Digging Deeper – The “Others”

So, I posted something on my PERSONAL Facebook wall about not getting message and comment notifications and my dear friend Colleen chimed in with – ummm…do you know about “Other” messages?

I’m like – what OTHER messages?

And she showed me. Just like I’m going to show you.

Go to your Home Page on Facebook. Click on Messages in the left hand sidebar. When you do that, something mysterious happens…you’re introduced to The Others.

When I clicked on that Monday morning, I had 58 messages swimming around in there. People I’ve shown this trick over the past two days have had numbers ranging from the 20s to over 100, and some dating back to the beginning of the year.

Now, if you’re running a brand page and trying to figure out why responses to your Events are down, this is why. Most brand page events go into The Others folder, just like the shitty movie starring Nicole Kidman goes into the bargain bin of DVDs at the grocery store. (Who buys DVDs at the grocery store anyways?)

In those Other messages were notes from readers of my blog and invitations to events that I would have really liked to have attended. (There was also the unread/unseen invitation to join the gentleman above for coffee.)

How could I stop these messages from going into Facebook’s sneaky, inconvenient Information Purgatory in the future?

The Answer: Reclaim Your Facebook Notifications

If I’m going to have passive-agressive missives flung in my direction, I want to be fully in control and conscious of the behavior that’s inspiring said missives. I also want to be participating, dammit. So I went into the Facebook Account Settings and I’m going to guide YOU through how to get those Message and other notifications back that Facebook mysteriously took away.

Step #1: Top Right Hand Side of Your Facebook Page

Step #2: Top Left Hand Side of the Next Page

Step #3: UNCHECK THIS DAMN BOX!

Step #4: Set Your Notifications

Scroll down the page until you see the Notifications section. You can click on each of the headings (Facebook – where you’ll find your Message notifications – is shown here) and set up the type of emails you want to receive.

No More Hide-And-Seek With Facebook Messages!

So, it would appear that I’m not necessarily the Evil Lady Who Ignores Facebook Messages after all. Facebook’s bogarted all of our notification settings and it’s up to us to reclaim them. And The Others? Hells bells. Go ahead and tell me how many messages you have in your Others folder. I have a nifty, wintery prize for the person with the most! Caveat: you have to upload a screen shot showing your profile name AND the message bubble to the right side of the Others line.

Now, this weekend, I’ll be doing that (apparently) much-needed Facebook Friends purge, as one of my true friends would have rattled my cage in other ways if I’d been ignoring them, as they’d know it was completely inadvertent. And for the record, the gentleman in question appears to have blocked me on Facebook, so I couldn’t even send him a message explaining the scenario.

The next time you assume someone is ignoring you, one of two things is most certainly true:

Option 1: They are ignoring your messages.

or

Option 2: They’re victim to Facebook’s definition of “important” and really have no fucking clue that you dropped them a line.

In my case? Option 2 prevailed.

Happy Facebook Notifications Reclamation Day!

 

256 comments
karenmoore68
karenmoore68

Just wanted to say thank you...I did have hidden messages. I was very upset though my first message was a friend trying to get up with my husband to do some work for them...this was in June...lost money. My second message was from a very old friend that had become very sick & the outlook was looking very grim...this was in Jan...now I've tried to contact him but cannot...all I can do is pray he's ok. So from a new fan of yours thank you ! 

Your fan, Karen

karenmoore68
karenmoore68

I was rereading my comment and notice that were I said thanks to you I was very upset. I do apologize...I was trying to say thanks to you they were found. Tried to edit for some reason it wouldn't let me. Thanks again.

andylou
andylou

I have been trying to contact an old friend of mine on facebook, her privacy settings are set so that I cannot just click 'add friend' I have sent her a message, that she obviously has never seen, probably gone into her 'other' messages folder.  I have also sent a message to her daughter who obviously hasn't seen it either, so frustrating!!

Rick Pratt
Rick Pratt

I want to share this with ALL my friends but unfortunately when I click share. Many won't ever see it because of Fb's greed. I do believe this is happening to push the "Pay To Promote" button! It's that simple and it pisses me off! When I signed up for Fb it was to stay in contact with friends and their activities and such. Unfortunately, Fb leads one on to believe that you will be able to receive every post and every post of yours be seen by ALL your friends.After all. If I wanted to restrict who sees it they have so nicely provided tools to do so. Therefore giving the impression that ALL would see my posts and I would see ALL post by friends. Not so much the truth! Even to this day when I have my settings wide open to get ALL notification and am subscribed to every friend, I STILL find posts that I was not notified of or did not show up in the "Newsfeed".

Ken Steiner
Ken Steiner

The only emails I want from Facebook is when someone sends me a private message. I can't find that setting...any help out there? THanks, Ken

Shahroz Alam
Shahroz Alam

thanx.... i probably lost my friend because of this.....now its time to get my friend back...tahank you very much..

Mangelo
Mangelo

The email frequency checkbox is gone!!! Now there is no way to get all notifications... The Facebook Help says it's still there but it's not, verified trying 3 different web browsers, at least on Mac. I've been missing dozens of very important messages ;(

Fiona Carroll
Fiona Carroll

Thankyou SO much . Maybe I will now find that new bf after all now. I had 124 messages in there!! Waaaaw!

victoria7401
victoria7401

thx. i had no idea i had over 100 dating back into last year. would have been nice to get some of them in a timely manner.

Jmputt
Jmputt

thankfully, i stumbled upon this page.  freakily, i followed your instructions, and that "email frequency" box wasn't even checked.  and i'm still not receiving notices on "other" messages.  WTF, FACEBOOK?!?!?!

Expat Doctor Mom
Expat Doctor Mom

Dear Erika So glad you are not really an "Evil Lady".  And seriously what is up with this guy?  Even if you didn't respond.  He should have assumed that you "just were not that into him"  even if it was not your fault.  Life is too short.  So this time, Facebook did you a favor.  The rest of the messages and events well we were all F%$^3D! I am reading this offline and as soon as I am online I will let you know how many messages I have in the other category!  I had 16 messages, 2 of which it was rude not to respond to: Another physician and a former patient who wanted my opinion... Then 2 messages from 2 random guy which were creepy!    Best in the New Year! Rajka

Jeanne D'Esposito
Jeanne D'Esposito

OMG!  I found a six month old message from someone I thought had blown me off completely.  So glad I read your post.

Dbjx2
Dbjx2

Wow... I have 74... dating back to April 27, 2010!!!

Colleen Newvine Tebeau
Colleen Newvine Tebeau

YEE-ah, so 100+ messages in "other" -- I guess I know what I'm doing this afternoon.

Thom Little
Thom Little

I made that change on your advice and got a ton of emails when crap happened on FB. I changed it back.

greyfort
greyfort

Yep I had 8 "Other" Messages. 

Amy Swanson
Amy Swanson

Holy crap, thank you so much for this! I checked mine and found out that a woman my parents graduated high school with was trying to reconnect with them. She only sent it on Nov. 8, so I'm sure it won't look funny that I'm emailing her back now :P

Tim Lewis
Tim Lewis

I'm sure that your contest is already over, and my Inbox only ever showed me as having "1" message in my "Other" Inbox, but I just spent over an hour cleaning out messages from the "Other" Inbox that dated back to late 2007...Just wanted to pass on my empirical data... ;-)

Mallorie
Mallorie

For the record I have had email notifications on for months now, as far as I can tell it still wont email you when you get an "other" message.

George Suarez
George Suarez

Why not just use your email account in messaging than Facebook, or just text him/her. Facebook has the changes or renovation that annoys the users a lot.

Janet Swarey
Janet Swarey

This is totally annoying. I found out that I had a message from my friend a long time ago, somewhere in mid July 2010 and I have not seen it. Next time I'll tell her to just email me than message me through Facebook.

Debi Davis
Debi Davis

OMG. This has been a lifesaver and heartbreaker. Found over 200+ messages in the 'other' box I never knew existed, and many private emails, some from students I'd mentored who wrote heartfelt thanks, and must have thought I was ignoring them. I am so grateful for this information so I can now contact all those people and explain why I did not respond to their lovely letters. 

Lynnie R. Aggression
Lynnie R. Aggression

When you have over 100, it just says 100+... that said, I had some dating back to 2010

Carolyn Cj Swanson
Carolyn Cj Swanson

I just found 100+ messages I never saw, some dating back to 2009!  Thanks for sharing this info.

Ann
Ann

I had 387... woops!

Leslie Greathouse
Leslie Greathouse

Ahhh...but mine was unchecked and I STILL have more than 100 in the "other" file.

Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

Uhm, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'd consider being blocked by this guy a blessing. Yeah, it make things a tiny bit weird with the people you know being that you couldn't smooth things out with him but I'm sure you'd rather have that as opposed to having ultra sensitive Psycho-Dad (no clue if he's a dad or not, just felt the urge to include the Married With Children reference here) create a scene at a coffee shop because you were 15 minutes late, or get all butt hurt because you didn't laugh at his jokes, or blow up your phone with calls and texts when you don't reply immediately to his calls and messages. Very interesting what petty little slights reveal about a person. Almost makes you think it's a good idea to do them on purpose to weed out the dick holes like this. Oh, and thank you so much for showing me how to fix this problem - the Psycho Dad one and the Facebook one. :)

jem
jem

Anyone that would waste time messing with facebook doesn't have anything important to do anyhow. Its a good way for kids to find out where the party's are and for people to feel they have lots of friends !!

Morgan Barnhart
Morgan Barnhart

I'm kind of pissed right now after reading this. I looked at all my 'other' messages and some were from people from several months back about actually important things!!! Ugh! Most of it, is junk, though. It's from Facebook Pages spamming me with their shit. But a lot of them were actually important.  Thanks for telling us how to fix it! :)

Susan Tippett Braithwaite
Susan Tippett Braithwaite

I just checked my "other" messages a couple of days ago and found a message from my dad (via his friends account), telling me he has terminal cancer.  He sent the message 2 weeks ago, fortunately I had called him several days before finding the message.   Sometimes FB is the only way to get in touch with someone (especially family members you haven't shared your new number or address with :D) and if you've not friended them the messages end up in "other" I think that would have been a horrible message to have found 6 month from now.

Share Ross
Share Ross

Thank you Erika! Indeed, there was a boatload of 'other' messages! Who knew? You rock for making it known! Love your blog. Love your tweets. In fact.. I just downright lurv you! LOL. Ya always keep it real.

Bobby Newlyn-Jones
Bobby Newlyn-Jones

Thanks for your blog about hidden facebook messages. I had 44 messages that I was unaware of. Many I would have deleted without reading anyway, but there are others in there that I would also have liked to read when I received them the first time around, several months ago! Bobby

Lash
Lash

Wow! THANK YOU!!! cheers, Lash

Rachael
Rachael

Yes. I became aware of this last month and had over 100 messages in my "others" folder. WTF.

Louise Henrie
Louise Henrie

thank you, I didn't know about this "feature." but I do have my notifications set up the way you show, and they still did not e-mail me about a message from someone important that I've been ignorant of for 7 months.

Bret @ Green Global Travel
Bret @ Green Global Travel

Facebook sucks, but thanks for the tip. I had hundreds of messages there I had no clue existed. Not that any of them were important...

Arsenic
Arsenic

Okay... this explains the whiney, 'Why have you been avoiding me?' messages. Is it just me, or is facebook becoming so nefarious that we're going to have to start using something else, soon?

Katy Tafoya
Katy Tafoya

It looks like they're in the process of doing the Timeline profile switch so they're denying access to the check boxes part of things.  Thankfully, I only had 38 hidden messages.  FYI, you also have hidden messages if you admin a FB page as well.

DebiHager
DebiHager

I had 182 unseen messages. Wow! Thanks for helping me find them.

Stephmdsc
Stephmdsc

I've got 17 in the "other" box, some of them from 2009. For crying out loud ...

Phil Simon
Phil Simon

Bless you for this post. I was wondering about why I was missing messages.  You are a queen.

Trackbacks

  1. […] list of things you want Facebook to notify you about. Check all the ones you want, then hit save.More detailed and amusing instructions here — profanity warning!Be Sociable, Share!Posts on Mashup Mom may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure and […]

  2. […] saw talk of Other Messages show up on TNW last month, but it has resurfaced again this week at RedheadWriting and Slate. Since the change was made over a year ago, I’m sure others have written about it […]

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  6. […] a month later], a colleague at Slate sent an email around about the messages Facebook hides in an obscure folder labelled “Other” . . . When I [checked it], I inhaled sharply: A […]

  7. […] a month later], a colleague at Slate sent an email around about the messages Facebook hides in an obscure folder labeled „Other” . . . When I [checked it], I inhaled sharply: A […]

  8. […] a month later], a colleague at Slate sent an email around about the messages Facebook hides in an obscure folder labeled “Other” . . . When I [checked it], I inhaled sharply: A […]

  9. […] a month later], a colleague at Slate sent an email around about the messages Facebook hides in an obscure folder labeled “Other” . . . When I [checked it], I inhaled sharply: A […]

  10. […] today, when a colleague at Slate sent an email around about the messages Facebook hides in an obscure folder labeled “Other.” Haven’t heard of it? Click the Messages tab on the left […]

  11. […] “Other” Inbox filed under Facebook, Social Media Last week’s post on Facebook’s “other” messages has since been picked up by Slate, Lifehacker, and ZDNet, making hundreds of thousands of […]

  12. […] all about the bad news of how Facebook is hiding your messages and then come back […]

  13. […] you want to regain control over your Facebook Notifications, follow the excellent instructions on Is Facebook Hiding Your Messages? by Erika Napoletano at Redhead Writing ( Dec 7, […]

  14. […] Link: Is Facebook Hiding Your Messages? […]

  15. […] even moreso. Back when I published the post that got Facebook to rate-limit my hosting company aka Is Facebook Hiding Your Messages? , the comments section was filled with tales from people who had received Facebook messages […]

  16. […] &#959n TNW last month, b&#965t &#1110t h&#1072&#1109 resurfaced again th&#1110&#1109 week &#1072t RedheadWriting &#1072n&#1281 Slate. S&#1110n&#1089&#1077 th&#1077 change w&#1072&#1109 m&#1072&#1281&#1077 over a […]

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  18. […] ce qu’aujourd’hui, un collègue de Slate envoie un mail collectif parlant des messages que Facebook cache dans un obscur dossier nommé «Autre». Vous n’en avez jamais entendu parler? Cliquez sur […]

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