I only use Facebook as an alternative to OpenID but sometimes need to send a private message to someone I'm not friend with.

I checked the "Sending a Message" page on Facebook, which says:

Start typing a name or email address into the To field. Names of friends and other people you know will appear in a dropdown

How can I find the name or email address? I didn't find this on someone's FB page, and just copy/pasting the FB name doesn't work:

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Do I need to be friend with someone before being able to send them a private e-mail?


2 Answers 2


Seems like mcdonaldsfrance is a page. You can send message to any user or page (if it’s enabled in their privacy options) with this URL:


For example, for McDonald's France the URL will be: https://www.facebook.com/messages/mcdonaldsfrance. From here, you can send messages to this page—as far as I can see, this page allows messages.

The method you are trying to use is for friends only!

  • Thanks Alex. Looks like the message got sent successfully.
    – user2412
    Jan 8, 2013 at 14:53
  • @user2412 Don’t thank me, I just edited the answer, thank Akshat. :)
    – Alex
    Jan 8, 2013 at 17:44

Short version: The bottomline is this: You can only send message to "friends", that is, people already on your contact list. When you open the message composition screen and start typing a contact's name, a dropdown will show up for you to pick a name.

Long version: Actually, you can send messages to friends of friends and/or to people who have configured their privacy settings accordingly. But if you are not a friend of them, it goes to an obscure folder called "others" and no notifications is shown to the recipient, therefore it usually goes ignored.

Another shortcut for sending message to users is visiting their profile page and pressing the "message" button on the top of the profile. If you can't see the message button, then you can't send that person a message

Pages can also receive messages, but the page owner has to configure this option, and if I recall correctly you have to first "like" the page. Again, to see if you can send a page a message, check for the button on the top.

More info here: http://www.facebook.com/help/336759363070078/

  • 1
    Not sure where this has gone, but Facebook has been playing with the idea of charging $1 to send a message to someone you can't otherwise contact. The article mentions that it skips the "Other" folder and goes directly to the person's inbox. The $1 charge helps to make sure that you're serious about wanting to contact people. Here's the Wall Street Journal article...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323277504578191643365183814.html
    – David
    Jan 8, 2013 at 13:39
  • Thanks much for the infos. I find it a bit odd having to become friends with a corporation simply to send them a question. What is the difference between a page and a user?
    – user2412
    Jan 8, 2013 at 14:51
  • Personal profiles are for persons, pages are for companies, organizations, products, public personalities. Users have a limit of 5000 connections and two-way interactions (one adds as a friend, other has to accept it). Pages have no such limit, are "liked" and require no acceptance. Pages can't start conversation, enter groups, enter group chats, tag people and do stuff regular people do. Jan 8, 2013 at 15:32
  • @David Oh God, why? I fear when this reaches the spam-loving army of users-who-actually-should-be-pages. Jan 8, 2013 at 15:35
  • When that happens, we will just have to start being more pro-active about reporting those users-who-actually-should-be-pages. (I have several pubs in mind already!) Jan 9, 2013 at 11:49

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