Delivering Read APIs for the New Messages
by Dan Hsiao - November 15, 2010 at 10:30am

Today, we announced the new Messages, which simplifies conversations with friends by combining messages, texts, chats and emails into a single thread. This update to our existing messages product is designed to facilitate short, relevant, cross platform conversations and gives people the option to create an @facebook.com email address.

As part of this announcement, we’re releasing a beta version of the read-only API for new Messages to registered developer accounts. These APIs -- in the Graph API and FQL -- allow applications to access the new Messages on a user’s behalf after requesting the read_mailbox permission. This opens up opportunities for developers to create a range of new experiences, such as an application where people can read messages directly from their desktop.

Applications using the existing Messages APIs should continue to do so until the new Messages is fully rolled out to all users, but developers can begin experimenting with the new APIs.

Messages has always been the place for communication between people on Facebook and this won’t change. The new Messages and email address are not intended as new communication channels for developers and don’t impact the ability to request permission for a user's verified email address. As always, developers should focus on integrating with the stream and requests communication channels on Facebook, or request the email extended permission to contact their users directly. To comply with existing policies and laws that prohibit unsolicited email, and ensure that users are in control of their inbox, we aren’t currently permitting developers to send messages to @facebook.com email addresses, and have updated our policies to reflect this.

As with all our products, we will continue to iterate on Messages and communicate new opportunities, from additional APIs, to IMAP support, to you through this blog. We look forward to seeing how you incorporate this new, more social messaging system with your applications, and we welcome your feedback.

Dan Hsiao, product manager for Messages, loves having real-time conversations that transition between laptop and phone.