Facebook is experimenting with paid messages sent to strangers

By on December 21, 2012, 8:30 AM

Facebook is testing a new feature that will allow some users to send messages to people they aren’t friends with. It may not sound like a big deal initially until you realize that the social network will be charging for the convenience – or inconvenience, depending on how you see it.

It’s the latest in Facebook’s continued campaign to generate additional revenue streams which, if nothing else, will make investors happy. As recently noted on the official Facebook blog, a select number of users now have the option to pay to have a message routed to a non-friend’s inbox.

Up to this point, Facebook has used social signals such as friend connections and algorithms to identify spam and determine relevance. Messages determined to be less relevant would usually end up in the “other” folder and thus, often overlooked.

Users interested in sending an “unsolicited” message will be charged $1 per person it’s sent to. It could be a worthy investment if you’re trying to get in touch with someone you might not otherwise have access too but at the same time, those $1 fees could add up quickly if you plan to send out a lot of messages.

As CNET points out, Facebook has a wealth of user data but very few credit cards on file. New features like promoted photos / posts, gifts and now this will certainly help the social network collect more credit card information. The only question that remains is, how badly do you want to reach out and speak to someone?




User Comments: 20

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Guest said:

Yup, ever since facebook went public....I don't see people reacting kindly to all this monetizing.

Google+ is right around the corner.

Guest said:

Agreed you can only push people so far....do they not make enough from personal information and advertising?

Guest said:

Yup, another facebook fail. I know I would not pay a penny to do anything on that site.

Guest said:

Nothing new here, LinkedIn has been doing this for years. Facebook's new name in 2013 = Checkbook.

Guest said:

Don't understand why people are riled up by allowing someone sending face book message. Can't someone already do it if they know your email address? Also, LinkedIn is already doing that with "InMail" and I did not see any uproar over it.

I am not a fan of Facebook privacy policies but I don't think this one is a huge deal. It's not that someone is given access to your profile for a dollar! :-)

Guest said:

http://www.facebook.com: "Sign up. It's free and always will be."

... maybe they should clarify that the statement above strictly refers to signing up for Facebook, not necessarily to the use of all of its services.

Guest said:

I sure would like to get that dollar for someone sending me email. Imagine all of the SPAMMERS out there who make money hand over fist. I have to accept their trash and not get anything for it?

tehbanz tehbanz said:

People are just going to add people as friends and then send messages for free... I don't get it.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

My new years resolution is to deactivate my facebook account.

Guest said:

Like always, some people here just don't clue in and see beyond what is written. If someone has to explain how this is a good thing to you, maybe you need to learn how to comprehend things better. RE-READ it till you see how this is a great thing they are implementing. If you STILL can't see it, give up.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

People are just going to add people as friends and then send messages for free... I don't get it.

Just like promote, this feature is for businesses to message you. It is a way to make money off of spam for facebook.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

So they will pay me when I will receive unsolicited messages?

Maybe that's not that bad :)

Oh, wait I did read this from the bad end, well who need FB anyway? I can live without ;) Can you ?

3 people like this | Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can't believe it, I've run out of fingers before reason why not to have a facebook account... The overall lack of intelligence of the masses still baffles me, you know, theres this thing called CALLING somebody, been around for over 100 years. Telemarketers use this technology why can't simpletons. The idea of paying to send a message on facebook is so wrong, and to top it off it's to someone you don't even know. Honestly whats the point, other than to piss someone off or advertisement. Seriously think about it, instead of paying for that message you can save a starving child, or make an actual difference, not be some tool in a corporate plot to make rich people richer. This is the problem with the current generation, people much rather spend money to bother someone then help someone. Society as a whole is going the wrong way. Free yourself from the tyranny that is facebook, you can be a better person without it.

vpix360 vpix360 said:

If Mark was a "humanitarian," and that $1 dollar went to education, St. Judes Children's Hospital, a college fund, etc. -- I might applaud the effort. Contact a stranger for some marketing purpose like LinkedIn might be a good idea -- and that $1 goes to Charity.

I can feel good about that.

But the outrageous greed and capitalism I see being put into play here -- completely disgusts me with Facebook. I hate them already for removing the old Facebook interface and cramming down Timeline down my throat.

How many times has Twitter and other social networks been hacked previously? Now we invite more with this stupid stunt. What's next, Mark? Charging for "Likes?"

Posting more credit cards on the Facebook system only invites more hackers, more thefts of credit crds and identity.

Way to go, Facebook. It's just another train wreck waiting to happen.

Charging $1 buck for strangers to contact me and shove down some stupid "get rich quick offer," or invite me to play Farmville or Mafia Wars is pretty worthless to me and millions of others.

I can opt out of being contacted to begin with. It's the law.

You've already been spanked by the Feds on privacy issues before, Mark. Do you really want to kick a sleeping bear again?

Guest said:

This is a great idea...

That way, only people who really... really want to speak at me, will. Instead of all the BS facebook has become.

Brach Speicher Brach Speicher said:

I don't understand how people aren't getting that this is essentially an anti-spam policy enforcement. Only corporations will be able to afford the rather steep price of advertising in this manner on Facebook, and Facebook also has an even bigger monetary incentive to crack down on spam. I'm not seeing the downside here, folks.

dodong said:

The purpose is to avoid spammers.

Divvet said:

Like always, some people here just don't clue in and see beyond what is written. If someone has to explain how this is a good thing to you, maybe you need to learn how to comprehend things better. RE-READ it till you see how this is a great thing they are implementing. If you STILL can't see it, give up.

Mark is that you?

Guest said:

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the sense of entitlement that fuels "outrage" at this move.

Listen people, don't like it? Then stop using the service you pay absolutely nothing for anyway.

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