Since December, Facebook has charged many users in the US $1 to message strangers' inboxes directly. The charge is part of a "test" to improve filtering of unwanted messages, according to a Facebook announcement.
Users can also have their messages delivered to those with a high number of 'Followers' — generally the profiles of public figures and celebrities. The pay-to-message system was expanded to the UK yesterday.
Facebook explains that several price points are being tested. The cost of sending a message is partly dependent on the receipient 's level of fame, which Facebook calculates with a secret algorithm. (UPDATE: Yesterday, a Facebook representative told us that the price points are based on follower numbers).
The Facebook rep also told us that $15 is the highest testing price in the US, but that "prices are not set in stone." Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion), Arianna Huffington, and Salman Rushdie can all be contacted at this price. They can only receive one paid message per week.
Yesterday, Olympic swimmer Tom Daley could be messaged at $15.90, but now there is no charge associated with his inbox (all messages sent to Mr. Daley will be filtered to his 'Other' message box). Facebook declined to comment on the higher charge for Mr. Daley, and seem to have removed him from the test altogether.
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