Betabeat has been bearish on Facebook’s Messages policy ever since they started turning off email alerts notifying you when you get a message, friend request, or wall post. Sure, you can restore your original notification settings, but why let users customize it in the first place if you’re just gonna undo them at will? Also, what happens if you’re not a tech news junkie and had no idea you had to check that little blue bubble icon to see what you missed?
Lately, we’ve also started noticing that messages take a hella long time to load. So not only is Zuck forcing us to spend more time on Facebook, but we have to wait around once we get there.
Let’s leave our petty complaints aside, for a moment, however, to address someone who actually got screwed over, albeit temporarily.
On Slate.com today Elizabeth Weingarten narrates the sad, confusing tale of losing her laptop in the back of a New York City cab, only to miss the Facebook messages of the man who found it. The fault lies with Facebook’s obscure “Other” folder in Messages, which neither Ms. Weingarten (nor Betabeat) had noticed until today.
For weeks, messages from the kind man who found Ms. Weingarten’s laptop lay unread in the “Other” folder, while she ended up scrambling to rewrite from scratch article that was due the next morning and eventually bit the bullet and purchased a new laptop.
“How could Facebook do this? Why would they do this?” Ms. Weingarten asks plaintively. A Facebook representative directed her to a blog post about Facebook’s changes to Social Inbox back in November 2010.
Betabeat just opened our “Other” folder for the first time, discovering 76 messages, most of them invites to things we wouldn’t have attended anyways. But Ms. Weingarten’s colleagues report missed recruitment offers, story tips, party invites, and more.
The irony, of course, is that without Facebook, the man who found her laptop (Ralph Nakash, one of the Israeli founders of Jordache Enterprises) might not have been able to get a message to her . . . well, if don’t count LinkedIn, Twitter, and regular old actually delivered to your inbox email.
Perhaps that’s why Zuck didn’t lose himself another customer. After discovering the messages, Ms. Weingarten writes:
“Then I sent a series of all-caps emails to my colleagues about the fiasco (so professional), and, of course, updated my Facebook status to reflect my wrath (so meta).”