Published on January 21, 2013 by Brett M. Christensen
Plans by Facebook to provide an option for users to pay to send a message to non-friend inboxes, do NOT validate old "Facebook charging for access" hoaxes like the one above
Facebook is currently trying out a new facility by which users can pay to have messages delivered directly to the inboxes of people they don't know. Currently, if you send a message to someone you don't know via Facebook, the message will be delivered to the recipient's "Other" folder rather than his or her Inbox. Given that many users may only occasionally ( or sometimes never) check their "Other" folder, there is no guarantee that a message you send to a stranger will ever be seen.
The new system will allow users to pay a fee to have their message sent to the non-friend recipient's inbox rather than his or her "Other" folder, thereby making it much more likely that it will actually be read. The fee for contacting people in this way has reportedly initially be set at $1, but may change if and when the system is further rolled out.
The system is still in trial, so it is not currently available to all users.
A December 21, 2012 BBC article about the trial notes:
Facebook has begun a trial which allows users to pay $1 to send messages direct to people who are not their friends.
The fee will mean messages go straight to a recipient's inbox rather than the Other folder which contains all unsolicited correspondence.
The trial is only for a "small number of people" and is initially being tested just in the US.
Users will be able to receive a maximum of one paid-for message per week, and no more than three each month.
Unfortunately, news of the move has given wings to older and oft-circulated hoaxes that falsely claim that Facebook is about to start charging users for actually accessing the network. Some Facebookers who have come across news about the pay for messages trial - and apparently misunderstood its meaning - have mistakenly concluded that the old hoaxes about Facebook charging a month fee for access must be true after all. However, these hoaxes are just as much nonsense as they always were. Facebook has no plans to start charging users for normal, everyday access to the network.
The bottom line? The new "pay to send messages" option is exactly that - an OPTION. Users will have no obligation to pay to send a message. And they certainly will not be charged for accessing Facebook and will be able to use the network in the same way that they have always done. As it says right on the Facebook front page, "It's free and always will be".