Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has now become a direct source of income for the company. Users who want to message Zuckerberg through the platform will have to pay a fee of $100. This charge, which is reported to be in its testing stage, is part of a system designed by Facebook to bolster revenue and stamp out spam.
First introduced in the U.S market during the December holiday season, this system started with a charge of $1 payable by any member who wished to message a user not in their friends list. At the time, Facebook pointed out that it wanted to establish whether introducing a “financial signal” would enhance its formula for delivering relevant and useful messages to its members.
The new advancements in this system not only require members to part with $100 in order to gain audience with Zuckerberg, but also require members to pay the same amount in order to reach other VIPs with sizeable followings on the social platform. In a concise statement, a Facebook spokesman shared insights on the issue, confirming the charges. “We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam,” he said. This $100 advancement on the December $1 charge is also exclusively restricted to U.S users.
VIPs that will participate in this test will receive only one message from each individual ‘stranger’ to their main inboxes each week. Facebook has however not revealed how many public figures are involved or if the involved parties have been informed of the advancements. Nonetheless, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said that it has set a threshold number of followers to decide who to include in the test.
Can’t fork out $100? Introducing the ‘other’ inbox
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) members who want to contact Zuckerberg and other public figures without paying $100 can still do so. Nonetheless, their message will be sent to the VIP’s ‘other inbox’. As the name suggests, this inbox is not only flooded with innumerable messages, but is also given lesser priority in comparison to the main inbox. In fact, most VIPs regard this ‘other inbox’ as a spam folder.
Facebook said the move to introduce this new system was partly influenced by commentators and researchers who backed the move, saying that it may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are both relevant and useful.