Facebook Tests $1 Fee To Send Direct Messages To Strangers

December 21, 2012 0

San Francisco – Would you like to be able to send a direct message to someone you are not familiar with on Facebook? Well, how much would you pay then to contact a stranger? The social media giant has discovered a new revenue generating stream, and is sprucing up its messaging system, and the most interesting change is a move to charge people to send a message to someone outside their network. The social networking giant is testing such a paid service at $1 per message.

Of late, Facebook is carrying out too many tests, and in a posting Thursday on the Facebook blog, the company said that it is conducting “a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance.”

Most important messages go straight to your inbox on Facebook. But with a new product that will let give users the ability to pay to ensure messages sent to other users outside their network reach that users’ Inbox, rather have it be banished to the Other folder.

These jinxed missives are dropped in the little-known “Other” folder, where they will often spend the remainder of their digital existence unseen, unread and unloved. But to counter that, users can pay a small fee ($1) to circumvent the dreaded Facebook’s messages sorting algorithms and place your message in the inbox of someone you are not directly connected.

Setting filter preferences in Facebook Messages. (Credit: Facebook)

In fact, this test is conceived to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. 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. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.

“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,” says Facebook.

On the other hand, the “inbox delivery test” will be available only to small number of Facebook users in the U.S. for now. Companies would not have access to the feature at this time, and people are limited to one paid outgoing message a week to minimize abuse.

It is worth noting that news of the paid-message option coincided with two new options for messaging filtering. The company has recently updated its terms and did away with the “Who can send me Facebook Messages?” option in favor of Basic or Strict filtering. Hence, if you chose Basic Filtering, then the usual messages from friends and people in your extended network will keep flowing to your inbox. But with Strict Filtering, it will be “mostly” limited to messages from friends.

Fortunately, this revamp – also allows members to receive messages from the Messenger for Android app, a mutual friend throwing a party and anyone with your @facebook.com e-mail address.

Facebook is constantly trying to find new revenue streams, testing out services such as paying to promote posts and Facebook Gifts. Besides, these collective changes would also foster more communication within Facebook and opening up the lines of communication is how Facebook plans to gain more users.