You might be missing DMs on social media. Here’s how to fix it.

You might be missing DMs on social media. Here’s how to fix it. thumbnail

Social media can cause a mess in your messaging. DMs from everyone and everything can make your account feel like the worst suggestion box in the world.

Tech companies understand this and have equipped a lot of their apps to automatically filter out messages that don’t appear to be from people they know. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can move these messages to a hidden inbox to avoid you getting overwhelmed by random messages.

But automation isn’t perfect so you might miss messages from people that you really want to reach out to: Old school friends, potential clients, or relatives with new social networks accounts. These filtered messages will not prompt a notification on the phone or browser so they are easy to ignore.

To make sure you don’t miss anything, it’s important to know where the alternative inboxes are located and to check them frequently to see what’s coming.

Facebook is one of most advanced social networks when it comes to customizing who can contact you. Anyone can contact you through Facebook. However, if you are not friends, your messages will be diverted to another inbox.

You can access your Facebook inbox via the Facebook messenger portal. To see the messages coming from your non-friends, click on your profile picture (top right), then choose Message Requests . Simply reply to the message to accept it. This will authorize any future messages from the person and redirect them to your standard email inbox.

[Related: How to send and receive texts from the comfort of your computer]

If you receive a message from someone that you don’t want to be in touch with, you can either ignore it or click the I do not want to hear from … button underneath the incoming message. This option allows you to delete the chat or block the contact. This will remove the chat and prevent this person from contacting you again.

The processes aren’t much different over on the Facebook Messenger apps for Android and iOS, though there are more messages to sift through. To see the list, tap your profile picture (top right), then Message request . On mobile, Facebook displays a You may know list (which is the message requests list you see on the web) together with a Spam list of incoming communications that it thinks are junk (these are quite often large group chats). At the bottom of each chat, you can reply to accept it, tap Delete to erase it, or tap Block to block the user.

How to get to your hidden DMs on Twitter

Twitter protects direct messages very well. Unless you modify the default settings, only those you follow will have the ability to message you. These messages will then go directly into your main inbox. It’s easy to unfollow someone you don’t wish to hear from.

You might have enabled the feature that allows anyone to send you a DM on Twitter (from the settings page for mobile or the web it’s Privacy & safety Direct Messages , then Allow messages from everyone ). This makes you more accessible but also more susceptible to spam. You’ll need to manage your messages from time to time.

If you have enabled this feature, messages sent by people you don’t follow will go to a separate mailbox. To locate it on Twitter ,, click the messages button (it looks like an envelope), then select Messages .. Underneath every incoming message, you can click Accept to start chatting and move the message into your main box; Delete to erase the message and never think about it again, or Block and report if you want to proactively stop this person from getting in touch with you in the future.

You’ll find the same three buttons inside the Twitter apps for Android and iOS. Click the little envelope icon (bottom left) to open the messages tab. Next, choose Message Requests from the top. Open up a conversation from this inbox to find the options to Report, Delete or Accept.

Finding your message requests on Instagram

Instagram uses a filtering system that keeps unwanted messages out of your main inbox. Anybody can message you on Instagram if they have your handle. However, messages from people you follow or are on your Close Friends list won’t make it to your main inbox.

You can set this to be disabled if you wish to restrict who can contact you. From the Instagram app for Android or iOS, tap your profile picture (bottom right), then the menu button (three lines, top right), then choose Settings, Privacy, and Messages. You have two options: Your followers on Instagram , and Others of Instagram .. You can choose to accept or reject messages. You will always receive messages from accounts that you follow.

[Related: How to save your text messages from disappearing when you get a new phone]

Still in the mobile app, tap the messages icon (the paper airplane icon, top right), then switch to the Requests tab to see incoming communications from people you’re not currently following on the platform. Select a chat and you get three different options to pick from: Block (stop this person from contacting you), Delete (delete the message but take no further action) and Accept (move the message into your main inbox).

You’ll find the same three options available if you open up Instagram on the web and go to your DMs there. Again, it’s the paper airplane icon button up in the top right–click the Request link at the top of your chat list (it’ll show how many unread requests you’ve got), and you can open up the conversations and take whatever action is necessary.

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