Message requests release: Knock, knock. Who’s there?

February 22, 2022 / Alex Linton

From top to bottom, Session is built differently to other messengers — and one of the biggest differences is the Session ID. Because of Session IDs, contact discovery works very differently in Session. We think the privacy and anonymity benefits are totally worth it — but it does come with some drawbacks.

Message requests animation.
Previously, we had a friend request system which ran into some issues because of the (greatly) increased complexity that comes with Session’s decentralisation. Decentralisation comes with benefits that are part of what makes Session so great — so in the end we had to put the friend request system on the bench while we sorted out some other things.

Now, we’re introducing a new system: message requests.

What are message requests?

From now on, messages you receive from unknown users or contacts will now be filtered into a message requests folder. 

Whenever you receive a message from an unknown contact, the message will appear as a chat in your message requests folder. When you open the chat, you can either accept the request, which will add the contact to your normal chat folder; or decline the request, which will delete the chat.

Message requests are an important feature to help protect against unsolicited or spam messages and calls, make Session a safer digital space for people to hang out, and just generally tidy up your chat screen.

Spam 

Message requests will help reduce unsolicited messages from landing in your inbox and drowning out the valuable conversations you’re having with your friends, family, and whoever else you’re talking to on Session. 
Kaiba getting sent to the shadow realm

Now, unknown contacts will be b̶a̶n̶i̶s̶h̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶h̶a̶d̶o̶w̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶m̶ sent to the message requests folder — and they’ll only gain entry to your normal chat screen if you accept the request. 

On top of that, if (for some reason) you have a lot of messages in your requests that you want to get rid of all at once — you can delete all your requests at the tap of a button. 

We’re going to be adding some more anti-spam functionality in the near future as well — and once we’re happy with the anti-spam protections in place, we can reintroduce fun things like DMing users from open groups.

Safety

Session is anti-hate and anti-harassment. Sometimes, ‘unsolicited messages’ means a bunch of messages that just say ‘Hi’, but sometimes it’s not quite as innocent. Adding message requests makes Session a safer and more friendly place for everyone — by putting you in control of who you’re talking to and who can message you. 

Tidiness

When you’ve got a lot of conversations on Session, things can get untidy quickly — especially if you’ve got a lot of people messaging you out of the blue. Message requests will help make sure that only the conversations that matter the most end up in your chat screen. Alongside the recently released global search feature, this should make surfing through your conversations in Session much easier!

Message requests are out now! 

Message requests are live in Session right now! Update your client to feel all the benefits of message requests. We’ll be releasing a demo video coming out showing you everything you need to know about message requests soon!

Next up, the calls closed beta is still ticking along beautifully, and beta calls will be appearing in everyone’s app settings very soon — so keep your eyes peeled!

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