Facebook Lets You Send Message to Unknown Person for a Dollar in New Test

By Ed Silverstein December 20, 2012

Is it worth a dollar to be able to send a message to someone whom you do not know on Facebook? That is apparently what Facebook is going to find out soon.

Under a new test, the social media site will let someone send a message to the inbox of people they do not know for a dollar.

Now, messages to people a sender does not know can end up in an “Other” folder – though many Facebook users do not even check that location.

On Thursday, Forbes carried Facebook’s statement about what the social media giant calls “a small experiment.”

“This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with,” according to Facebook officials. “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.”

This test will benefit senders and recipients alike. Senders may find the test useful if they are trying to reach someone about a job or want to contact someone who spoke at an event. And recipients will hear from people “who have an important message to send them.”

The feature is limited to “personal messages between individuals in the U.S.,” Facebook said in the statement. Also, only one message a week can be sent from an “Other” folder to an inbox.

There was mixed reactions to the idea from readers of The Wall Street Journal.

Aaron Keillor commented, “If this gets implemented, it will probably only be used by advertisers. The casual level of dissatisfaction people have with FB is growing. This is just one more thing that will diminish people's use of the network. FB lost its cool factor after wide scale adoption occurred & everybody's extended family were there looking over your shoulder.” Another comment read, “That will be the day I pay Facebook a dollar or anything else to send messages. Talk about having a death wish. By implementing this ridiculous fee, Facebook must have one.” 

There are other social media sites out there currently that are using such an option, or possibly considering it.

“This service is very similar to one already available at the professional social network LinkedIn, where users may want to pay to reach possible business contacts,” according to The Washington Post.

It was also reported that the $1 price tag could change in the future.

 Facebook has just wrapped up testing another option that lets users pay $7 to make posts more visible among their contacts in addition.

Any extra fee could raise money for Facebook, given that it has one billion monthly active users. In fact, TechZone360 reported this summer that Facebook needed to find more ways to become profitable – after a disappointing IPO – and perhaps better use of mobile devices.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

TechZone360 Contributor

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