Facebook is looking to add a bit of certainty to its Messenger app, as the social media giant launches a new caller ID feature for new Messenger conversations. From now on, the next time a non-friend messages you on Facebook, you will be shown a brief publicly available information on that particular contact.
We’re all too familiar with people not in our friends list contacting us, prompting us to often sift through their profile just to help us recall if we do know the person in question and are forgetting it, or even if you’re sure you don’t know the person, you still want who you’re dealing with before responding. This is obviously an inconvenience, one that Facebook is now looking to eliminate.
Messages from such contacts will now be headed by a digital calling card of sorts, which will include a photo, other public information such as current city, place of employment, profession, etc. and how you and that particular contact are connected, if connected at all. Interestingly, the feature will offer these details for existing friends whom you’ve never messaged till now. This feature can be really helpful for keeping track of people you’ve run into in the recent past and connecting to them, where the caller ID feature can really help jog your memory.
Some might be concerned with Facebook stepping on some sensitive privacy issues, but that’s not the case here. The feature will only be grabbing information that users have made public anyways and can be seen by anyone who’s on Facebook. Another important question is the fate of the infamous “Other” inbox in Messenger as incoming messages from non-friends are filtered to that particular area which does not really trigger any notification and users often miss them. As it stands today, that feature remains as it is, but providing context to new conversations is still a much needed convenience.
Facebook’s Hello app for Android has also been around for some while, where the offering intercepts incoming phone calls and shows you the information available on Facebook about the caller, and even blocks it if the individual is identified as a known spammer. As for the new caller ID feature for Messenger, it is meant for both iOS and Android and is rolling out to users in the US, UK, India, and France only for now.