Facebook is now charging its users for sending messages to celebrities and other people outside their friends
1. Facebook starts charging UK users up to £10 to send messages to celebrities.
2. Facebook Charging $100 To Message Mark Zuckerberg.
3. Facebook now charges you for messages sent to celebrities and people you are not friends with.
The messages say that Facebook is now charging users for sending messages to celebrities and other people not on their friends list. This is true, it is in fact a pay-for-messages experiment of Facebook that started in December 2012. However, this is only an optional service so as to ensure the messages reach the ‘Priority Inbox’ of Facebook user, and not the less seen ‘Other’ folder. Refer to the picture below.
How it Started
Facebook believed that the most effective way to discourage spam and unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful is to impose a financial cost on the sender. So from December 20, 2012, they started a small experiment to test the usefulness of this idea. Facebook made this feature available to a small number of individuals in the U.S, giving them the option to send their message to the Facebook ‘Inbox’ of a user, rather than the ‘Other’ folder. The other folder is where the less relevant messages go, and are generally not seen by most Facebook users. Note that depending on your settings of Inbox filtering, a message will reach your Inbox or the Other folder. (You can learn about this from the reference section below). In related news published by Facebook, they concluded saying:
“We’ll (Facebook will) continue to iterate and evolve Facebook Messages over the coming months.”
Post this, in US, Facebook has been testing this system of selling the access to your inbox, charging $1 for strangers who want to message you. However, this feature allowed only one such message per week. And there is also a limit to the number of paid messages any user can receive.
Then on Jan 10, 2013, when a Mashable reporter tried to send a message to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, they discovered that the social networking platform may offer them to keep their message out of Mark’s “Other” Inbox (i.e. the other folder) for a cool amount of $100. Refer to the last picture below. After a successful trial in America, at the end of March 2013, this premium messaging service was extended for test in UK as well.
Facebook is testing to price the cost of message depending on various factors like the popularity of a person and his number of followers. According to a statement of the company:
“We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam.”
The cost of messaging the most prominent celebrities was higher when compared to the others. For example, as reported by Mashable, for sending a priority message to Mark Zuckerberg was priced at $100, while for messaging other users in the US, it was between $1, $5 or $15. In UK, a message to the popular Olympic diver Tom Daley will cost £10.68, while that for US rapper Snoop Dogg is £10.08. The standard charge to message an ordinary user in UK is 71p. Note that Facebook can change these charges in future.
The Facebook users who like to send these priority messages can pay the fee online instantly, by using a credit or debit card, but users under 18 years are barred from doing so, and are also blocked from receiving unsolicited messages. According to The Independent, Facebook said in a statement:
“The system of paying to message non-friends in their inbox is designed to prevent spam while acknowledging that sometimes you might want to hear from people outside your immediate social circle. We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance. Part of that test involves charging higher amounts for public figures, based on the number of followers they have.
This is still a test and these prices are not set in stone.”
Facebook is currently charging and testing the pay-for-messages feature with some users in US and UK, allowing them to send their messages to the “priority inbox” of the recipient, and not land up in the less seen “Other” folder. Facebook says that this is an attempt to decrease spam and unwanted messages, thereby promoting useful messaging. Note that this charging for messages only applies in case of celebrities and non-friend Facebook users, you can still send priority messages to your Facebook friends and mutual friends for free.
However, this charging for Facebook messages was widely criticized, after the details of the costs became known, more so because Facebook always said that the site is ‘free and always will be’. Also, it appears as if Facebook wants to use their messaging service instead of email.
Hoax or Fact:
Facebook News: Update to Messaging and a Test
Facebook Charging $100 to Message Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook now charges you for messages sent to celebrities and others
Facebook starts charging UK users to send messages