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Optional Facebook Trial Allows Users to Pay to Send Messages to Non-Friend Inboxes

Outline
Various messages circulating via Facebook claim that the company is about to start charging users for sending messages on the network.

Facebook Messages

Depositphotos.com/Yuichiro Chino



Brief Analysis
Many of the circulating messages and headlines are misleading and inaccurate. It is true that Facebook is currently trying out a new feature that allows users to pay a fee to have messages delivered directly to the inboxes of people that are not on their friends list. However, this fee is entirely optional. Users will NOT be charged for sending messages to their friends. And users can still send messages to the "Other" folders of non-friends for free just as they have always been able to do. The trial system was made available to some US users several months ago and is now being rolled out to a number of further countries, including the UK.

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Example
NEWS FLASH....ON LASTS NEWS IT STATED THAT FACEBOOK IS GOING TO CHARGE PEOPLE TO USE MESSAGES ON HERE..HOW MUCH THEY DIDNT SAY...WELL I THINK ENOUGH IS ENOUGH THEY MAKE YOU PAY TO PLAY GAMES, YOU GET BANNED FROM MAKING TO MANY FRIENDS, WARNING IT YOU TICK TO MANY LIKES, WARNINGS IF YOU ARE GOING TO FAST....FACEBOOK WAS SUPPOSE TO BE SOCIAL MEDIA AND AWAY TO KEEP UP WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS..I PERSONALLY THINK THEY ARE GREEDY BUGGERS AND HAVE OVER STEPPED THERE MARK...IF YOU WANT TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ME.....SEND ME EMAILS....ALSO THERE IS NO WHERE ON FB, THAT WE CAN PUT A COMPLAINT IN ABOUT ALL THERE SO CALLED RULES..WELL I GOT THAT OFF MY CHEST NOW I FEEL ALOT BETTER :)

Facebook: New Charges For Sending Messages
Facebook is to charge up to 10 to send some messages, raising fears that users will soon be hit with a raft of new fees.


Detailed Analysis
Various messages currently buzzing around Facebook are warning users that the company is planning on implementing charges for sending some messages via the network. Many of the messages stridently decry the implementation of these apparent new charges. Others consist of clickable news headlines that point to longer articles on the topic.





It is perfectly true that Facebook is running trials in which users can opt to pay a fee to send messages directly to the inboxes of people they don't know. Currently, if you send a message to a non-friend via Facebook, the message will be delivered to the recipient's "Other" folder rather than his or her Inbox. The problem is that many users may only occasionally, or perhaps never, check their "Other" folder. So, a message that you send to a stranger may never actually be seen.

The system allows users to pay a fee to overcome this problem and have their message land in the recipient's Facebook Inbox rather than his or her - likely neglected - Other folder. The trial system was made available to US based Facebookers in late 2012. The trial is currently being extended to a number of other countries, including the UK. Proposed fees reportedly vary somewhat, with higher amounts charged to reach well-known figures with large followings.

In a statement quoted by UK news outlet The Telegraph, Facebook noted:

“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,”

“We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance.”

Unfortunately, some of the circulating messages and - less forgivably - many of the news report headlines give the incorrect impression that Facebook is intending to start charging people to send ALL messages. This is not the case. Even those Facebook users who already have the trial system available to them can still send messages to their Facebook friends for free. And they can still send free messages to the "Other" folder of non-friends just as they have always been able to do.

Many of the news reports also engage in a degree of rather useless speculation about possible further charges that Facebook may or may not impose on users in the future.

It is still unclear if and when the trial will become a permanent feature available to all Facebook users.

The bottom line? You do not have to pay to send messages. The new system is entirely optional, and you can continue to send messages to the Inboxes of friends and to the Other folders of strangers for free. And even if it does become available to all, many users will probably never use the option.

Here is an example of how the paid message option is displayed to users included in the trial:
Facebook Paid Message Option

Regrettably, news of the trial has also given undue credence to a series of hoaxes that falsely claim that Facebook is about to start charging users for actually accessing the network.
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Last updated: April 9, 2013
First published: April 9, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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References
Facebook tests new payment system to charge users for messaging
Facebook Trialling Option to Pay to Directly Inbox Non-Friends
Hoax: Facebook to Start Charging This Summer - Facebook Icon Will Turn Blue ( Or Gold)