Facebook on Thursday began testing the feasibility of charging to
guarantee that messages from strangers make it into inboxes of intended
recipients at the social network.
Dabbling with getting people to pay
to connect with Facebook members comes as the social network strives to
tap the potential to make money from its membership base of more than a
The Facebook Messages test, limited to the United
States, lets a sender pay a dollar to make sure an electronic missive is
routed to someone's "inbox" even when the person isn't in their circle
Facebook messaging system was billed as being designed
to deflect seemingly unwanted correspondence into an "other" folder
that can be ignored.
Facebook said that it wanted to determine
whether adding a "financial signal" improves its formula for delivering
"relevant and useful" messages to members' inboxes.
Facebook already uses social cues, such as connections between friends, and algorithms that identify spam messages.
test is designed to address situations where neither social nor
algorithmic signals are sufficient," Facebook said in a blog post.
example, 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."
Menlo Park, California-based social network in 2011 introduced "other"
folders as repositories for messages of dubious interest to recipients.
The test was introduced along with updates that included "basic" or "strict" filtering settings for inboxes.
strict setting limits inboxes to little more than messages from friends
at the social network, while the basic setting opens the door to
friends of friends.
Facebook on Wednesday halted a test of placing
ads in "apps" that synch to the leading social network, renewing
questions on how it will boost revenues from members using smartphones
Facebook contended that it was making a priority of
developing ways to profit from posts shared between friends at the
Facebook sparked a rebellion of Instagram users
this week with proposed policy changes intended to improve the ability
to make money from the smartphone photo sharing service it bought this
Instagram backed off the policy changes in the face of the backlash.
January 16 had included wording that appeared to allow people's
pictures to be used by advertisers at Instagram or Facebook worldwide,
Instagram, which prior to the controversy had some
100 million users, this month distanced itself from Twitter in order to
route photo viewers to its own website, where it has the potential to
make money from ads or other mechanisms.
The service made it impossible for Internet users to view its images in messages at Twitter.
Instagram pictures shared in messages tweeted from smartphones could be
viewed at Twitter. Instagram rose to stardom with the help of Twitter.
completed its purchase of Instagram in September. The original price
was pegged at $1 billion but the final value was less because of a
decline in the social network's share price.
Facebook went public
in May with a resounding flop, its $38 initial public offering price
immediately plunging to eventually less than half that. Shares were
trading at $27.36 at the close of trading on the Nasdaq exchange on