Facebook’s new messaging platform, announced today, may be mostly copied from MySpace, but it is still another significant step in the decline of Internet e-mail.
The problem with Internet e-mail is that it can be sent anonymously or with a false identity. You can’t really rely on information from Internet e-mail messages unless you can verify them through a more secure medium, such as a web site or telephone call.
The messages sent inside Facebook (or MySpace, for that matter) don’t travel through the open Internet, so they can’t be falsified so easily. You can count on the message originating from the account it says it comes from.
There is potential for confusion, though, because Facebook e-mail messages may arrive in the same inbox as Internet e-mail messages. Even though they may appear on the same list, it’s important to remember that the outside messages contain risks that aren’t there in the inside messages.
Now that Facebook users can send e-mail messages to each other within Facebook, there will be fewer personal messages being sent through Internet e-mail. This move may cement Internet e-mail’s status as a commercial, rather than a personal, communications medium.