Confirmed: Facebook is testing a priority paid messaging system

8 Apr 2013

Social network Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed testing a priority messaging system that will see users pay fees for sending messages to public figures.

Responding to news this morning that the social network was introducing a cash for messages to celebs feature, we reached out to Facebook and a spokesperson for the company confirmed that this is the case.

The company this morning said the feature is a test and is not available to everyone.

It gives people the option to pay to have their message routed to the person’s inbox instead of their ‘Other’ folder. This test gives people a new way to signal a message’s importance, and it helps people avoid having their messages go unread in the Other folder of someone they aren’t connected to yet.

Facebook said people can still post comments on a brand Page or comment on a person’s profile if this is allowed, according to privacy settings.

The system may have uses for people who may have heard someone speak at a conference and want to get in touch. For example, someone may want to contact you about a job opportunity or because they have the same interest.

It said there will be caps on how many of these messages you will receive in your inbox.

In terms of how it will work, when users send a message, it opens a thread with that person. The receiver can move that thread to their Other box if they don’t want to see subsequent messages.

Facebook said this also means that the sender cannot pay to reach their inbox again.

There is also some good news for parents who may be worried about their children being targeted with unsolicited messages or spending money to send messages to public people.

The network said minors will not be eligible to pay to route messages nor will others be able to pay to route messages to their inboxes.


Facebook said the prices for sending priority messages will be based on a number of factors, ranging from number of followers to whether they have already been messaged recently.

The number of messages a person can have routed from their Other box to their Inbox will be limited to a maximum of one per week.

Facebook confirmed it will remain free for people to use and people can still message friends and others in the same way as before.

It also confirmed the all revenue from the test feature goes to Facebook.

“The system of paying to message non-friends in their Facebook inbox is designed to prevent spam, while acknowledging that sometimes you might want to hear from people outside your immediate social circle,” a spokesperson for the social network explained.

“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.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years