Back in December, we reported on plans by Facebook to introduce a $1 charge to message other non-friend users on its site, as the company continues to explore ways to generate revenue from its enormous user base. That trial has been ongoing since then, and is now set to expand with a range of additional charges for sending messages to celebrities and public figures.
The exact amount that users will be charged will vary, with the value of a message determined by how many followers the recipient has, and how many others users are paying to contact them. The Sunday Times reports that sending a message to figures such as British Olympic diver Tom Daley and author Salman Rushdie could incur a charge as high as £10.68 GBP (roughly $16 USD).
Facebook has confirmed its plans, and that the trial is already under way as the company is “testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee”. The overall objective, Facebook insists, is to reduce the amount of spam being sent via its messaging service.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “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.”
So, you could pay $1 to message a non-friend, or $16 to message your favourite celebrity… or you could just save your money and send them a tweet instead.