It appears that Facebook’s paid messaging test has crossed the pond, as users in the U.K. are reporting that they are being given the opportunity to pay upwards of £10 to send messages to some users’ inboxes.
“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,” said Facebook in a statement.
This is an expansion on a months-old test that first originated in the U.S. back in December of 2012. Facebook began to test the “paid messages,” which allow users to pay a small fee to ensure that the messages they send reach the intended recipient’s inbox.
Note it’s their inbox that we’re shooting for – not the “other” folder. That’s Facebook’s version of a spam folder, and it houses messages deemed spammy or unimportant, based on a sorting algorithm.
The Telegraph reports that U.K. users are seeing a sliding pay scale for celebrities that quotes a message price based on their number of followers and message competition.
“We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance. Part of that test involves charging higher amounts for public figures, based on the number of followers they have. This is still a test and these prices are not set in stone,” said Facebook.
It’s likely that any message a random Facebook user sends to a celebrity with millions of followers or even someone that they simply don’t know and is way outside their network will be relegated to the “other” messages folder. With this test, Facebook is giving users a way to make sure that these messages reach the main inbox.
Although it could be seen as Facebook giving people a way to pay to spam you, Facebook has always said that it’s about reducing spam.
“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,” said Facebook when they first launched the test.