Facebook has started a “small experiment” in the U.S. that will let some individual users pay to make sure their messages reach other users’ Inboxes. It’s part of several changes to how Facebook Messages are sent between users.
Facebook is positioning the pay-for-delivery system as a way to reduce spam and other unwanted messages from reaching users’ Inboxes.
Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. 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.
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.
As it stands now, Facebook users can send messages to strangers, but Facebook’s filters aim to keep those out of the recipient’s Inbox and put them in the “Other” folder, instead.
As CNET reports, the pay-for-delivery system will start at just one dollar per message and is — for now — only available to individual users. During the test, Facebook says users will have a max of one paid incoming message per week routed to their Inbox.
Though the feature is limited to individual users now, a Facebook spokesperson hinted to CNET that brands may be able to use a similar pay-for-delivery system in the future: “Brands can’t use this feature — not at the moment.”
If (when?) that happens, it would open up another revenue channel for Facebook as it continues uncovering all the proverbial rocks it can find to add it to its bottom line.