Today brings yet another reason for Facebook’s billion-plus users to get their collective knickers in a bunch. In its latest attempt to catch the white whale we call “revenue”, Facebook announced changes to its messaging feature: the network will soon offer a pay-per-message service to test audiences before making it available to all users.
The changes also include new inbox filter options: by choosing the “strict filter” option, users could automatically send messages from non-friends to the little-seen “other” folder…unless said parties pay up.
Facebook claims that this change will help reduce spam by placing a stronger barrier between users and potential spammers. We see where they’re coming from—who would pay to send spam messages? This approach isn’t exactly new, either: LinkedIn Premium allows users to send direct messages to those with whom they have no connection.
Still, this option moves a step beyond “sponsored posts”, and we have a feeling brands will use it to send promotional messages to carefully targeted users. What do we think, PR pros: Will the pay-per-message function provide yet another marketing venue, or will users turn against brands that dare to contact them via their “private” Facebook inboxes?