Personal communication via email is dead. SMS, Instant Messengers and Social Networking killed it. And hence they are the new frontier for spam. Facebook, the largest social network, has an amazingly sharp solution for controlling spam. When you receive a message from someone who is not in your network, you are never notified. The message sits quietly in a nondescript part of your inbox called the other folder. It doesn’t care if the message is important or the person sending it is not a habitual spammer. It seems the folks at Facebook took the adage, “Keep it simple and stupid”, a bit too seriously.
The web is full of stories from people who missed on important information because they received it from a disconnected user. Spam is off putting, so are random strangers hitting on you via cheesy facebook messages, but what’s even more annoying is missing an important message. There is a school of thought that says if your message is important enough you can always “friend” the receiver before sending the message across. The assumption being, in no circumstance you can receive an important message from a person you do not know. Are all your real world conversations with friends and family?
It is unbelievable that Facebook doesn’t have enough talent to tackle spam a little more smartly. Neither is it likely that there is no solution to the problem. The notification system can non-intrusively highlight a new message received in the “other” folder. Actual spam, determined by an algorithm, can be sent to a third section, a spam folder. Users can be given the power to mark messages as spam so that the logic learns and becomes smarter. An agreeable solution can be arrived at if the problem is worked upon. Facebook needs to step up. It will continue to be the world’s centre of personal interaction for the foreseeable future. It should treat messaging with a little more chutzpah if it wants this future to be longer.