A Facebook Message Request differs from a normal message in that the sender of the message isn’t friends of the person receiving it.
First of all, can one read a Message Request on Facebook before ignoring it AND without the sender knowing you ignored it? Meaning will the user get a “message request delivered” or will the sender see the “seen” checkmark with the Message Request as they would with a friend’s message?
We weren’t able to confirm any official Facebook response, but what we’ve been able to glean online, the answer is yes, you can go ahead and freely ignore that annoying jerk. This Facebook community thread says that you can read and ignore a message request without them getting any notification of your action. A Quora user puts it this way:
you can view the message without accepting the message request. This way the person would not know that you have seen the message or that you have read it. He will, however know that you haven’t accepted the message request if he goes back to check the message he sent to you as Facebook sends a notification once the request has been accepted.
That last part might be true, but Message Requests aren’t a given. They go into a different bucket or inbox than regular messages, so it’s easy to overlook them A.K.A. plausible deniability. From UberGizmo:
there are two inboxes for your messages. One is a regular inbox where you can check messages from friends, and the other is an “Other” inbox where basically messages from people you don’t know end up. Message Requests… can be read or ignored without the other person knowing about it
Message Requests can *easily* get lost in the fray in the dozens of post notifications, mentions, photo tags, friend requests, event invites, likes and loves. So, feel free to read a message request knowing that the sender won’t know one way or the other.
What Happens If I Accept or Decline a Facebook Message Request?
When the Message Request functionality first came out, Facebook only gave you two options — to Ignore or Accept. Since then, they assumed that you didn’t have to have an “Ignore” button to ignore it, so they replaced it with the option to “Decline” it.
So with those two choices, what happens if you want to take one of those actions on the Message Request? Easy. If you tap on “Accept” or respond to the Request, then the message will go into your normal message inbox. If you’re looking to be a little more upfront than simply ignoring the message and want to “Decline” that Message Request on Facebook then all bets are off.
Get ready for some drama! Just kidding, the assumption is that the sender would receive a “message declined” notification. Not true according to this post:
No need to worry about the user being offended if you make the decision to decline, the person who contacted you will never know you saw their message.
And the message will be removed from your Message Requests.
Three Choices that Protects the Receiver
So with Message Requests, you have three options. You can read and ignore it and it will stay in your Message Requests — nothing happens. You can read and accept the message and it will move into your normal message inbox, or you can read and decline it which will remove it from your Message Requests. With all three, you don’t have to worry about the sender knowing if you’ve read it or not; they won’t get any notification one way or the other.
At least or have to download a third-party app as you would with a Friend’s message.