Send a Private Message to a Facebook Friend

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Oh, Facebook. Why are you always messing with your faithful users? Just when we start to get familiar enough with your atrocious interface that we can actually navigate it, you roll out weird, unwanted, and mostly impractical changes.

The latest example: private messages. That's the Facebook equivalent of sending someone an e-mail; it's for their eyes only. (A lot of Facebook rookies make the mistake of posting private messages on a friend's wall, not realizing that every one of that friend's friends can see it as well.)

Until recently, the process of sending someone a private message went like this: You'd head to your friend's profile page, click New Message or Send Message (I've forgotten the exact wording, as the option is now gone), and then type your message into the e-mail-like box that appeared. If you wanted the message to go to other friends at the same time, you just added their names to the To: field.

Like I said, that option is now gone, at least in the way you access it. Facebook now treats private messages like chats, with the newest ones appearing at the bottom of the thread (exactly the opposite of the way Facebook shows news feeds and other data). And there's no way to include multiple people in the conversation.

So, how can you send a private message to one or more people? By using an option that was always there--just a little less convenient. Just click the Messages link in the left-hand toolbar, then click the + New Message button. Now you can type the name(s) of your friend(s) and your message.

Maybe this is how you've done it all along. And maybe it's the more logical method. I'm just miffed because it's not the way I was used to doing it, and I don't like the new threaded-message system. Your thoughts?

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums.

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