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Facebook Testing $1 Service for Messaging Strangers

By - Source: Facebook | B 25 comments

Facebook is testing a service that allows a sender's message to be yanked out of a receiver's "other" folder and into their inbox.

In addition to Facebook-owned Instagram threatening to use shared photos in advertisements, and talk that Facebook itself may open the doors to 15-second video commercials in news feeds, the social network has announced that an experimental feature is underway that allows strangers to pay for delivering their virtual letter to your Facebook Messages Inbox.

"Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance," the company said. "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, the idea is to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful. The current test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient.

Typically the Facebook Messages service relies on two "signals" that tell the system where a message needs ot go: into the Inbox or into the Other folder. Social signals such as friend connections go straight to the Inbox whereas algorithmic signals filter out spam based on friend of friend connections, people the user might know, and so on.

Now there's a new economic signal that will essentially allow a message to be sent straight to a recipient's Inbox if the sender coughs up a whole dollar per message. "For 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," the company said. "For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them."

Facebook said this new routing feature is only for personal messages between individuals here in the States. The number of messages a sender can have moved from the Other folder to the Inbox is one per person per week... at least for now.

In addition to the paid service, Facebook has also added two new filters to help sort the incoming messages: Basic and Strict. With Basic selected, users will see mostly messages from friends and people they may know (formerly "Everyone"). The Strict filter only allows messages from friends (formerly "Friends"). Users of Messenger for Android – who don't have a Facebook account – can still send a message to someone with the Basic filter on.

"If you see a message from someone you don't want to hear from in your Inbox, you can always select 'Move to Other' or 'Report Spam' from the Actions menu," Facebook said. "You can also block people that you don’t want to hear from on Facebook."

Facebook has seemingly become the next America Online, only on a global scale. Like the popular online Internet network of the late 90s, Facebook has become a networking service with its own email system, chat client, internal web sites, games and more. What's missing is a dial-up connection, an integrated web browser, and a monthly subscription model.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    nebun , December 22, 2012 12:01 PM
    they need to be honest and admit that they are getting greedy
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 22, 2012 9:20 AM
    Perhaps they should pay $0.10 of that the user that they're sending it to ... I'd willingly receive spam emails (that would take seconds to delete) if I was getting paid for them!
  • 12 Hide
    QEFX , December 22, 2012 10:26 AM
    So Facebook wants to be less respected than apple?

    They should have to pay Facebook users $1.10 .... $1 from the sender and $0.10 from F*ckerberg's personal bank account.
Other Comments
    Display all 25 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 22, 2012 9:20 AM
    Perhaps they should pay $0.10 of that the user that they're sending it to ... I'd willingly receive spam emails (that would take seconds to delete) if I was getting paid for them!
  • 7 Hide
    abbadon_34 , December 22, 2012 9:37 AM
    this sound like a dangerous precent, charging per email. How many times have we heard idea, real and ficticious, about a per email tax/charge/etc. for anything from supporting the Post Office to raising revenue. While sharing "spam revenue" is a nice idea, spammers spam because it costs the same to send 1 email as 1 million: nothing. This seems more useful for stalkers and directed hacks.

    I still can't believe Facebook hasn't gone down the toilet yet, as least far the stock price. Bring it from the billions to millions and I might be convinced.
  • 0 Hide
    hydac7 , December 22, 2012 9:53 AM
    Gryphon64Perhaps they should pay $0.10 of that the user that they're sending it to ... I'd willingly receive spam emails (that would take seconds to delete) if I was getting paid for them!


    Same here :) 
  • 3 Hide
    mark0718 , December 22, 2012 10:19 AM
    Gryphon64 12/22/2012 12:20 PM
    "Perhaps they should pay $0.10 of that the user that they're sending it to ... I'd willingly receive spam emails (that would take seconds to delete) if I was getting paid for them!"

    Good idea, but you have the ratio backwards. The addressee should get 90%,
    Facebook 10%. It should also be possible for the addressee to read the message
    and say the sender doesn't have to pay the 90%.
  • 12 Hide
    QEFX , December 22, 2012 10:26 AM
    So Facebook wants to be less respected than apple?

    They should have to pay Facebook users $1.10 .... $1 from the sender and $0.10 from F*ckerberg's personal bank account.
  • 15 Hide
    nebun , December 22, 2012 12:01 PM
    they need to be honest and admit that they are getting greedy
  • -4 Hide
    thecolorblue , December 22, 2012 12:18 PM
    AndrewMDI love the asinine comments for this post. So many people hating on Facebook, but so many of you use it too. You want to hate a guy that has it made! In retrospect you guys would hate anyone that is rich. They did not get there because they are kind and generous. If you are not rich it is your fault, no one else. Get a real life, a real job, and make your own damn money!

    /golfclap
  • 2 Hide
    thecolorblue , December 22, 2012 12:33 PM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJCczbSF-B8

    Watch that and then tell us how great Facebook is
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 22, 2012 1:10 PM
    Expect increasing invasion of privacy from FB while market and shareholders increase their pressure to rapidly milk this huge base. While their lawyers and PR folks work overnight to wade through legal/privacy landmines worldwide- notice the increasing frequency of experiments like this post IPO. This is not surprising at all and I believe they will eventually get away with it as majority of the unwary users allow themselves to be subjected to this slowly accelerating exploitative schemes. Well this will continue to the point where marketers feel they reached a level of insignificant returns that can be mined from this populace.
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , December 22, 2012 1:56 PM
    AndrewMDI love the asinine comments for this post. So many people hating on Facebook, but so many of you use it too. You want to hate a guy that has it made! In retrospect you guys would hate anyone that is rich. They did not get there because they are kind and generous. If you are not rich it is your fault, no one else. Get a real life, a real job, and make your own damn money!


    Tell that to businesses. Many of them that don't use FB or have very small presence usually have weak customer satisfaction, because customers prefer to vent their complaints on FB and Twitter. When the complaints go unanswered, bad things happen.
  • 3 Hide
    friskiest , December 22, 2012 2:01 PM
    So they call this a feature? Well, I personally can't blame FB for doing this,. they have to get money to pay for the expenses of the "free" personalized pages, image/video upload and others,. its a freakin business after all,. you get "free" services in exchange of your personal data,.
  • 2 Hide
    sacre , December 22, 2012 2:35 PM
    Facebook: We're not making enough billions, someone do something!
    Someone: Lets ad Adds that last 15 seconds, and charge 1 dollar to send messages to "strangers"
    Facebook: Genius, i'll be on my 4th yacht, tell me how it works out.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , December 22, 2012 3:36 PM
    The shareholders also want yachts as well, so don't forget about the stock price/dividends...
  • 2 Hide
    hector2 , December 22, 2012 6:18 PM
    So who gets the $1 ? Facebook or the recipient ? Facebook, I'm betting. They don't care if you message strangers
  • 0 Hide
    danielravennest , December 22, 2012 7:38 PM
    At some point, if Facebook makes themselves too annoying, people will jump ship to other networks.
  • -1 Hide
    Hellbound , December 22, 2012 7:41 PM
    Perhaps the real goal here is to make you friend people... I have people(family members) not on my friends list because they are simply annoying as hell... But we message each other for events and stuff..

    In the end they could claim that Facebook has the largest community of friends, EVAR!!.....
  • 0 Hide
    therabiddeer , December 22, 2012 10:45 PM
    Before when I said that facebook would never go away until they made huge mistakes? Well, they are beginning to make these mistakes. They should be monetizing their site through the games and media that people WANT to see, not from things that people DONT want to see.
  • 0 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , December 23, 2012 3:33 AM
    AndrewMDI love the asinine comments for this post. So many people hating on Facebook, but so many of you use it too. You want to hate a guy that has it made! In retrospect you guys would hate anyone that is rich. They did not get there because they are kind and generous. If you are not rich it is your fault, no one else. Get a real life, a real job, and make your own damn money!
    Oh look, one of those "Everything is fine as long as it's in the pursuit of money!" people. No one gives a crap that Zuckerberg is rich, and no, neither he nor his company are immune to criticism because they have money.
  • 0 Hide
    santeana , December 23, 2012 7:02 PM
    thecolorbluehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJCczbSF-B8Watch that and then tell us how great Facebook is

    Thanks! That was awesome. I watched the whole thing :) 
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