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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Facebook looks to charge for messages to celebrities

 Messages sent to 'celebrities' over Facebook will soon cost money. The social network is currently testing their model of pay-for-messages in Europe. The idea: Whoever wants to send a personal message to the inbox of a celebrity profile will have to pay. And it's hardly 'cheap as chips'.

The Europe wide test is primarily centred in the UK market. If you, for example, had the intention of pm'ing Snoop Dogg or Salman Rushdie it'd cost you £10.08, Tom Daily would even be 60p more expensive, whereas a Facebook email to Nick Hornby would be a comparable bargain at only 71p.

And just as it's the case with sponsored posts, all money charged for messages would go to Facebook.

The pay-for-messages would only apply to personal profiles, not for fan pages.

This is reminiscent of this January's news – when it was briefly possible to message Zuckerberg himself for $100.

Facebook is now mainly testing whether people will pay for these messages and if so, how much are they willing to pay. The current difference in price depending on whom you message is currently determined by the number of followers. So, the more followers you have the more expensive it'll be.

It is unclear, whether this system has been successful while being tested throughout the US.

Up to now, if you would have messaged someone you weren't facebook-friends with, your messages would have simply ended up in their 'other' and not 'inbox' folder. Pay-for-messages will now be displayed in the regular inbox of the recipient.

Of course, there's no guarantee that the intended recipient of the message will ever read it, take note or reply. It is also fairly unlikely, as all the financial benefit is going to Facebook and not being shared with the 'celebrities' in question.

Overall, it seems like an incredibly daft function for incredibly daft people. But then, phone-in shows and competitions are still making money... and let's not forget that Mark Zuckerberg now has an obligation towards his shareholders to show a willingness to make more profits and open further potential avenues for income.

The question remains; why would anyone pay to message someone over Facebook? Especially, when you don't know whether the intended recipient will even receive or read your message. Moreover, what's stopping anyone – or, well, Facebook – setting up accounts pretending to belong to celebrities?

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