Facebook is testing a feature that will let select users pay $1 to send messages to people with whom they have no connection on the social network.
Facebook said the option will only be presented to a "small number" of users in the U.S. at this point, and people will be limited to one paid message per week to start. Those who opt to pay for message delivery will have their note dropped in a Facebook's user inbox rather than the often-ignored "Other" folder.
"Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful," Facebook said in a statement.
The $1 fee will open a thread with a non-Facebook friend. If that person replies to your note, you won't have to pay again to respond to them, a Facebook spokesman said. If the recipient moves your note to the Other or Spam folders, however, you won't be able to pay to contact them again.
Those selected to test out this product will see a "prompt" when they attempt to contact a non-Facebook friend, the spokesman said. It will inform users that their message is about to be delivered to the "Other" folder, and give them to option to pay $1 to have it directed to the Inbox.
Most Facebook users are probably not aware that they have an "Other" folder. It made headlines in July when a bug within the API for certain mobile devices accidentally synched a user's @facebook.com email address rather than their primary address. Emails sent to @facebook.com email addresses from Facebook friends or friends of friends went to the Facebook Inbox. Messages from anyone else were sent to the "Other" folder within the Inbox. Many people - myself included - did not realize this "Other" inbox existed, prompting us to think our messages had disappeared into the ether.
Facebook said the option might be useful if you're trying to contact "someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity."
"For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them," Facebook said.
New Filtering Options
News of the paid-message option coincided with two new options for messaging filtering. Facebook recently updated its terms and did away with the "Who can send me Facebook Messages?" option in favor of Basic or Strict filtering.
With Basic filtering, you'll see messages from friends and people you may know in the inbox; this will apply to people who previously had their message settings on "friends of friends" or "everyone." With Strict filtering, your inbox will primarily include messages from friends. This applies to those who had their settings on "friends."
The messages test comes several months after Facebook started letting users pay to promote certain posts. The feature lets you pay Facebook $7 for a post you want to highlight, and your message will stay near the top of your friends' and subscribers' news feeds for a longer period of time so they're more likely to see it.
Be Social With TRSFollow @TechSource
- Report: Apple Prepping Low-Cost iPhone, iPhone 5S
- Your AT&T Wireless Bill Just Went up 61 Cents a Month
- Details Spilled on Apple’s iOS 7 Overhaul
- Report: Atari Seeks to Auction Off Brand, Video Game Business
- Microsoft’s Next-Gen Kinect for Windows Sensor Launching Next Year