Facebook announced that it's rolling out Message Requests for Messenger. It calls this a "foundational development" in the sense that the company will continue to build on the functionality to improve the way people find each other.
Essentially, it's a way for you to request permission to send someone a message, similar to how you would request to be their friend on Facebook.
As you may know, Messenger no longer requires you to have have a Facebook account, so this is a way that anybody can communicate without having a person's phone number or being Facebook friends with them.
"We truly want to make Messenger the place where you can find and privately connect with anyone you need to reach, but only be reached by the people you want to communicate with," says David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook. "Now, the only thing you need to talk to virtually anyone in the world, is their name. As a result of these changes, we’re removing the 'Other Folder' that was only accessible from the web, and are enabling you to accept or ignore new requests without the requestor knowing you’ve read their message."
"The rule is pretty simple," he adds. "If you’re friends on Facebook, if you have each other’s contact info in your phone and have these synced, or if you have an existing open thread, the new messages from that sender will be routed to your inbox. Everything else will now be a message request, minus spam attempts that we will continue to ruthlessly combat."
That last part is key, and it will be interesting to see how well Facebook is able to keep this under control as it rolls out this new functionality.
Facebook has been turning Messenger into a platform and a way for businesses to reach out to customers an an opt-in basis. Hopefully Message Requests won't get out of hand.
Image via Facebook