Facebook tests charging $100 for messages to users you don't know
One of the reasons for the great Facebook IPO flop of 2012 was investors' fears that the social network couldn't monetize its user base.
What good is a billion members, the thinking went, if you can't get a buck from them? Ad revenue can only go so far.
So Facebook has done some experimenting, and late last year, under much of the media radar, the social network unveiled a modest way to pry money from its users: charging $1 to private message anyone that wasn't on your friend list.
At the time, nobody noticed a $1 fee for a service they'd rarely use, but what will people say if that charge is boosted up to $100 per message?
According to Mashable, that's just what's happened on Facebook for some users.
Should you try to message, say, Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook, if you're not one of his 16 million followers you might see a dialogue box prompting you to pay $100 for it to be delivered to his inbox.
Otherwise, you can send it to his "Other" folder, a oft-overlooked inbox storage device usually saved for junk mail and other non-urgent messages.
Said Facebook in a statement: "We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam."
For now, that appears to be the chief motivation here -- to shield the inboxes of high-profile users from pestering and spam from people they don't know.
But if it expands to a system like one you might find on a dating website, where you'd have to have a special membership or pay extra to message someone not in your network, the long-rumoured up-charging of Facebook could finally be here.