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Facebook Significantly Improves its Messaging with Chat ID

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While Facebook’s messenger function is slick enough between people who have added each other on the network, it’s never been much of a worthy substitute for a full email account. The main reason for this is that if you do want to contact someone that you aren’t actually friends with, your message will likely end up relegated to the ‘other’ inbox.

You might not even realise that this cluttered, grim miasma of spammers and phoney accounts exists, but if you look at the inbox drop down in the top right corner you’ll see it hovering discreetly next to the standard ‘inbox’ icon. You might be surprised to find that some of the messages nestled in amongst the murk might actually have been worth reading, when they were new. A few months ago I tried to sell a gig ticket on Facebook, the post sailed by unacknowledged (or so I thought) and I moved on. More than 6 months later a cursory check of this message graveyard revealed that I could have sold the damn ticket 5 times over.

Now, to improve people’s ability to interface with strangers on the platform, Facebook have implemented a ‘Chat ID’ feature. With it active, anyone outside of your friends list who drops you a message will be identified by location and profession, just to give you a clearer idea of who it is. You might not necessarily remember that you spoke to someone named Neil last week, but you may well recall speaking to a PR manager while you were in Bristol. The function also applies to people who might be on your friends list, but haven’t ever messaged you before. More than half of all Facebook users have over 200 friends and it can be difficult to keep track of everyone.

The hopeful knock-on effect of this new feature will be that more pertinent messages will be able to steer wide of the ‘other’ vortex and make it to your main inbox. Facebook’s significance as a professional tool is still very embryonic and very circumstantial, but improvements like this could lead to a time when the site is just as prominent a platform for professional communication as emailing. I know it sounds like a bit of a stretch, but even after the internet became truly freely available it took a long time for email communication to overtake memos and paging, never mind the humble telephone.


Communication between strangers on social networks is always going to be difficult to regulate and every platform has their own approach to it, but realistically for a platform to have any kind of professional relevance you need to be able to do it. Another, Android-based Caller ID function was recently introduced by Facebook in a similar vein, so this is obviously a route they intend to continue travelling.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Facebook Significantly Improves its Messaging with Chat ID Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Rating: 5

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