Social media’s secret inboxes: How to find your hidden messages on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

You spend hours each week scanning through your Facebook news feed, scrolling past pics on Instagram, and checking to see who was clicking on your LinkedIn profile. You have push notifications on your phone, email notifications hitting your inbox, and reminders popping up in your browser so you don’t miss a conversation.

I hate to break it to you, but you are missing some messages. Some social networks have installed secret inboxes that you don’t know about.

Who has them and how do you get to them? I’ll show you.


Facebook has two secret inboxes buried behind your main Facebook Messenger inbox. Here’s how to find them:

Start by going to the Facebook News Feed and clicking the Messages feature on the top left menu to access Facebook Messenger.


You’ll see your current inbox from Facebook Messenger, but have you ever clicked the Message Requests option on the top? This is the first secret inbox and these messages are from people Facebook thinks you might know. I’ve had some legitimate message requests sent here from people I’ve actually met, and I’m glad I checked them!


Click the More dropdown menu on the right, and you’ll see even more inboxes for unread, filtered, and archived messages. The filtered messages – Facebook’s second secret inbox – are from people you’re not Facebook friends with and they’re placed in a secret inbox because Facebook thinks that the sender may be trying to send you spam. Judging by the images I’ve seen here, Facebook is right.



You may know about Instagram’s direct messaging inbox that allows you to send messages and photos to other Instagram users you’re connected to. Within the last few months, Instagram snuck in a little update to this inbox called Message Requests that allows people you aren’t connected to on Instagram to send you messages as well.

To find your Message Requests, start by opening up Instagram and going to the News Feed. Click on the inbox on the top right of the screen.

Instagram Messages 1.png

You’ll see any previous messages listed here in your regular inbox, but if you see a blue strip at the top that has a number and the words Message Requests, then you’ve got messages in this secret inbox. If the blue strip doesn’t appear, then you don’t have any messages waiting for you here.


Click on the Message Requests notification to get to the messages. Click on them to read them. You can click the Allow button to let the sender know you’ve seen the message and write a response. When you allow a message, future messages from that sender will appear in your direct inbox. If you click the Decline button, you can ignore the message.



LinkedIn has two kinds of secret inboxes: one is in your regular inbox and the other can be found in your connection requests. They contain communications from blocked users that I’m assuming – I couldn’t find details on this – that LinkedIn believes are people you may not know and are trying to spam your profile.

To find your secret message inbox on LinkedIn, start by clicking the messages feature on the top menu bar.


Then, click the All Messages dropdown menu near the top of the page and select the blocked messages.


At some point, LinkedIn started filtering your connection requests and they’ve hidden them in a secret inbox. It’s definitely important to check these because I’ve found some legitimate requests there from people I actually know. Don’t leave them hanging!

You can find these hidden requests by going to LinkedIn and clicking on the invitations feature on the top menu.


LinkedIn will show you your pending invitations and a list of people you may know. Click on the dropdown menu on the right of the pending invitations and select Blocked invitations.


The list of LinkedIn users whose invitations are blocked will appear on a new screen.


The secret’s out!

Now that you know about the secret inboxes on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I hope you check them out and I hope you find something interesting there! It’s not always spam. Don’t ignore these messages. They might be from actual people you know that have been waiting to hear from you.