Facebook has launched a social experimental offer for a select group of US citizens not on Facebook, allowing them to send messages to subscribers for a small fee.
“Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance,” Facebook said on its news page.
Facebook did not publicly announce the price per message, but some customers have reported it costs around US$1 to drop into a Facebooker’s inbox.
The social network has activated this service for outsiders to see how the payment for contact might work.
Although it might be easier to get in touch with someone via Facebook, invasion of privacy, as most people are still using the community for social interaction, might become a grievance.
Paid messages sent to a user’s inbox are not optional and thus a person sending from outside of Facebook cannot be blocked, as is the case with other Facebook members.
Facebook said the goal was the contrary. “Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”
Filtering is based on friend signals and is algorithmic of nature. Through the way you interact with your friends, the filtering applies your habits to form the appearance of seemingly more important contacts that appear first in your inbox.
The test is viewed as a supplement for the filtering system, to see whether paid messages might be the solution to cover the loopholes of the filtering process.