Facebook Tests $1 Fee to Message Non-Friends

Guaranteed delivery will cost a dollar, at least at first

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 20, 2012 2:34 PM CST

(Newser) – Facebook is tweaking its message filters, and the part getting all the attention is an experiment to see whether people would be willing to pay to send messages to those who aren't friends. A small group of users will play with the system, and AllThingsD reports that the fee will start out at $1 and get adjusted as needed. Facebook says it will help cut down on spam and provides this rationale:

  • "For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their inbox."

Paying the fee will ensure that the message gets there. Under the current setup, you could send it, but it would probably end up in the dreaded "other" folder. Few people even know it exists and rarely check it, notes the Verge. Lots of people will see this as Facebook meddling with privacy settings or selling access to your inbox, writes Josh Constine at TechCrunch. But it's a little early to dismiss the idea. "In the end, these settings might actually help people with strict privacy settings see important messages, and reduce spam for people with relaxed settings, but we’ll have to wait and see what their impact is, and whether users are able to see their value through the fear." Read Facebook's explanation here.

The Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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