Facebook Private Messages Now Also Paid Messages
April 8, 2013
As of now British Facebook users have to pay when sending a message to someone that is not their friend, at least if they want their message to land in that user’s Inbox. If they don’t pay, it just goes to ‘other messages’, a part of the Inbox most people don’t even know exists.
This system was tested in the US, and apparently approved of since Facebook has started launching it in other countries as well, starting with the UK.
Facebook no longer free
Whereas companies were already paying for a number of Facebook services, this is the first feature that regular users have to pay for. Facebook claims they are testing it to prevent spam from being sent. To enable people to still send messages to non-friends, they are testing these payments. It is of course also a way for Facebook to make money, apart from their income from advertising.
Prices Facebook paid messages range from $1 to $100
The price users in the UK pay for sending PM’s to people outside their friend list ranges from 1 to 10 pounds based on the number of friends someone has and the number of times other people have already paid for getting in touch with this user. In the US the price can even get as high as $100! For a while Mark Zuckerberg (with 16M friends) was one of them, but he was soon made ‘cheaper’ again since he of course invites all Facebook users to get in touch with him. Charging $100 for that would be a bit… amoral.
Will this be the first step towards Facebook becoming a paying service? I still believe they will keep it free but it is possible they will gradually start charging for several existing features. No idea whether this would result in people actually paying to use Facebook or rather abandoning the tool. We’ll have to see what the future brings!