Facebook: message a stranger for a dollar

December 22nd, 2012 - 05:37 am ET by J. G.

Facebook has started a test allowing users to send a message to a stranger on the social network. This message will cost a dollar, with users being able to confirm the receiver.

Facebook-logoThe social network with more than one billion users has announced numerous updates to their messaging service including new filters for the inbox.

The "Who can send you Facebook messages" setting has gone and two new options have been offered. This filter will show all messages from friends and acquaintances, while a stricter filter will only show messages from friends.

Facebook has also started a test to evaluate "the use of economic signals to determine the relevance" of messages.

A small number of users will also have the possibility of managing a message in the inbox, so that it isn’t falsely classified into a user’s Other folder when they aren’t connected.

This means that it is an option that allows a "non-friend" on Facebook to send a message, assuring that it will be seen the next time the receiver connects to the service. This option will be payable and will cost the sender a dollar.

The test at this time is only available between users that are located in the United States, with a limit of one message per week.

For Facebook, the fact that this service costs users will make it "easier to receive useful and relevant messages."

Facebook is already testing payments to push advertising in friend’s activity feeds, with the cost being 7 dollars per post. Facebook is looking at ways of earning from different revenue streams in addition to advertising.

The question is to know whether users are ready to pay for such functions, with Facebook maintaining that their base service is free and will always be so. This may become blurred in the future with all of the commercial services though, or potentially create a two speed Facebook.

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