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Facebook tests charging to message strangers

Ever since Facebook floated their shares, plummeted in value and found themselves answerable to a crew of cut throat investors, they have been rolling out trick after trick to help themselves turn larger profits.

The outcry over ‘promoted posts’ is still raging in cyberspace and as for their ‘tweaks’ to the Instagram privacy policy following their purchase of the photo app, well that backfired within seconds.

Now they have started a trial where you pay $1 to send a message to the inbox of someone you aren’t connected with. It’s not quite as scandalous as their previous ventures into revenue drives. At the moment, Facebook users have two message folders – their normal one and a semi hidden folder called ‘other’. This is basically a spam folder but also can contain legitimate messages from people you aren’t connected to or have no friends in common with. Most Facebook users aren’t even aware of the folder’s existence and those that are hardly ever check it.

So now – your message will be guaranteed to bypass the spam filter and end up in a recipient’s principal inbox if you pay $1. Crucially – this option only applies to individual users and not businesses. Just as crucially – there is an ‘at the moment’ skulking around that decision.

So – does this mean that a guy can see a pretty girl’s profile and pay $1 to guarantee she receives his unwanted attentions? Or does it mean that the 50 unsolicited pick ups in her other folder will be whittled down to a manageable handful?

Facebook had this to say “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.”

The company also suggests that charging for messages could help discourage spammers. It’s possible. Until their next bright idea perhaps.

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