A little digging by Mashable has turned up a strange new initiative from Facebook. While you can already send a message for free to a friend — or a friend of a friend — the ubiquitous social network is now giving you the option to pay a hefty $100 to send a message directly to a total stranger's inbox. Without ponying up the cash, your message goes to the dreaded "other folder," aka "Facebook's dumping ground for all messages it guesses you won't want to read urgently," where it will likely be completely overlooked. (By the way, have you checked your "other" folder recently? Do so with caution.)
In December, Facebook announced it would be testing this pay-to-message feature, but for a much lower fee of just $1. Even that was met with mixed reviews. But bloggers discovered the new fee when testing a message to the founder himself, Mark Zuckerberg. And the fee prompt can be replicated with other popular accounts. The fee seems to jump from $1 to $100 when the person you're messaging has a whole bunch of followers, or is a well-known public figure.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson says, "We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam." In other words, the fee is an attempt to discourage people from sending annoying messages to people they don't know. "But, it could also be seen as Facebook letting people pay to spam your inbox," notes Josh Wolford at Web Pro News.
It will be interesting to see how long these fees stay in place, and who, if anyone, actually pays them.