Facebook’s rolling out its changes to your inbox today, among other privacy changes you’ll see at the top right-hand side of your Facebook screen, called “privacy shortcuts.”
The biggest change to messages: anyone can send you a message now, not just your friends. That opens the door to unwanted pestering from advertisers, companies, spammers, and the dreaded “random person you don’t know sending you awkward/creepy stuff” situation.
And what’s more, Facebook is testing a system where a non-friend can pay $1 to make sure their message shows up in your main inbox, making it impossible to ignore.
Previously, people you didn’t know either couldn’t message you, or if they did, their messages would get lost in the black hole known as the “Other” inbox. Lots of people don’t even know they have an “Other” inbox. If you’re on Facebook, go check it out: it’s the link to the right of your regular inbox. You probably have a bunch of weird messages you never knew existed.
Now you’ll get everything that anyone sends you, and it’ll be filtered to either your main inbox or the “Other” one.
Follow these steps to keep the random/spammy messages to a minimum and focus on hearing from the people you actually care about:
Step 1: On your Facebook home page, click on “Messages” on the lefthand side of the screen. You’ll be taken to your inbox.
Step 2: Click on the “Other” inbox on the top left of your screen, next to your main inbox.
Step 3: Click the “Edit Preferences” link.
Step 4: A window will pop up titled “Message Filtering Preferences.” Make sure you select “Strict Filtering,” then hit the “Save” button.
Facebook recommends that you use the less-protective “Basic Filtering” and let more people you don’t know message you, which seems like the direct opposite of what regular people would want.
Today’s changes are the direct result of Facebook’s November 2012 policy overhaul, which Facebook was able to make because the required 300 million users didn’t vote against it. It’s yet another step in Facebook’s gradual erosion of people’s online privacy.
What do you think of the new privacy controls? Are they an upgrade or downgrade (or Like or Dislike, more appropriately)?