Facebook tests charging to send messages to people you’re not friends with

Facebook is looking to supplement their earnings and tight spam by implementing micro-transactions with their messaging service. The social network IPO has begun experimenting with their new business model by charging UK users up to ?11 ($17) to send messages to celebrities such as Olympic diver Tom Daley and others outside their friends list.

Currently when someone you have no mutual friends with a facebook contact the message is sent to an “other” folder instead of the inbox. Facebook is experimenting with change to this system by allowing users to send messages directly to a stranger’s inbox, but at a cost, according to theverge.com

Students at SHSU were not happy about Facebook’s new direction. One student talked about how it could hurt her business.

“I really don’t like that idea,” sophomore student Brooke Dodd said. “I run a business that kind of relies on Facebook messages with my clients. That stuff adds up after a while.”

Another student said that the move is only good for the rich.

“The money goes straight to Facebook, so it really only benefits them and celebrities who don’t want to be bothered,” junior student Viktoria Kareva said.

At this stage of development, Facebook stated that they are trying to prevent spam.

“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,” Facebook said in a statement. “We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance.”

This fee gives the sender the opportunity to signal to a receiver that you do not know, that you should be listened to. It’s similar to a LinkedIn pro account.

Though unsurprising to some, this is still a big move for Facebook. Back in 2004, micropayments were difficult to make because of a lack of infrastructure and cost, but today there is a burgeoning market for ultra-low cost services.

One student understood the cost, but said she wouldn’t do it.

“I mean, I can understand why they’d charge that much to message a celebrity,” freshman student Chelsea Flores said. “It’s not [a] necessary thing to do. But yeah, I still wouldn’t pay for that.”

Facebook spent all of last year becoming a mobile company, with the new Home becoming a way to extend its mobile presence. According to Musically.com:

“Facebook ended 2012 with 680 [million] mobile Monthly Active Users (MAUs), with more people accessing it daily from phones than on the web (more mobile Daily Active Users (DAUs) than web DAUs, in Web 2.0 parlance). Mobile accounted for 23% of Facebook’s ad revenues in Q4, up from 14% in Q3. That’s $305 [million] of mobile ads in Q4 alone.”

However, Facebook plans to not rely so much on its ad revenue. The fact that they’re implementing charges for messaging exemplifies that notion. According to Forbes.com:

“The further Facebook dives into mobile, the more stressing ads will be as a revenue sourceùyet Facebook relies on ads for 85% of its revenues. No media company wants to be in that position.”

In January, Facebook was ridiculed for setting a $100 (?61) fee to contact Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg.

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