Facebook testing letting users pay to advertise to their friends [Update: We got it too!]

Recently, Facebook announced "sponsored stories" for the news feed, but it appears they are trying to make it even more personal than before with a new feature that allows users to highlight their status updates in their feed to make them more prominent, by pushing them to the top of the feed despite their age. 

The feature was uncovered by Stuff, where a Facebook user in Whangarei, New Zealand accidentally found the feature while using Facebook. Apparently, she originally thought it was a scam, but Facebook has confirmed that it is a new feature in testing. 

A spokesperson for Facebook said that they are "constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people's interest in this method of sharing with their friends" and that they are trialling different price points, including offering the feature for free to see if users will use it.

Once paid for, the feature simply moves the users status higher up the news feed or picture posts and makes them remain higher in the news feed for longer. Facebook didn't specify if this feature would roll out to everyone, or if it would even see the light of day outside of the small test group.

This is the first time that Facebook has attempted to monetize individual users rather than just businesses, just before their IPO offering is to be completed.

Update: We just got the feature... ironically on a post about the new feature! You can see the post here, which appears at the top of my friends' news feeds. It's not clear how long that actually lasts. We were also able to get it to show up as costing in some cases, and not costing other times in our tests, depending on if a link was included in the status or not.

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25 Comments

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nice... good, strong start for the downfall run

few more of these services and facebook will look like your average dating site - but actually this feature has a great advantage: when used it shows the self-important *******s and crap advertisers among your friends; until "unfriend" function is free everything's all right

Id think they have a way better way with this exact system BUT if someone clicks the story/link/post/etc you get paid a certain about (a cent)

I'll definitely defriend anyone who uses this, and may leave Facebook if they screw with my "most recent" feed option and force top news again to work with features like this.

I currently have a clean feed because I hide any and every app that appears, and block any that come in sneakier ways.

Probably the worst kind of customer for Facebook though because I'm blocking most attempts to be advertised to.

wait, let me get this straight.. you can volunteer your information to facebook.com - and if you want - pay a small fee to facebook so it can market, er, 'highlight' your update to friends?

This is an even better scam than SMS fees!

bdsams said,
About time to start a new minimalist social network.

They did have Facebook Lite but that went by the way side sadly.

bdsams said,
About time to start a new minimalist social network.

Not minimalist, but expandable with like... plugins that get a certain guarantee of support...

So you can have a minimalist experience, or a feature packed one.
Everyone likes different things, I'm rather the "bloatware admirer" in terms of social networks (if executed well, I think FB isn't too shabby there), but this isn't a real feature, it's just a money grabbing act.

I should be able to highlight my posts myself, so like...
We need a system where everyone can have one top priority post per day... maybe two, depending on how much you used it in the past couple of days.
Then if something deciding happens it doesn't get dug by FB laughable Highlighted Posts algorithm, which I still believe is run by hamsters on dope, and not shadowed by all those "g2g 2 restroom, byeee" kinds of posts.

And before anyone starts to argue:
no, I don't unfriend people for occasionally annoying posts, wtf is this?
If I add someone as friend on my FB, it means a little more than some think, or some just add everyone lol... idk...
The definitions of "friend" vary vastly, I know that. *sigh*

GS:mac