Huffpost Technology

Facebook Trial Asks Users To Pay Up To £10 To Message Celebrities

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Facebook is testing a system requiring users to pay to message celebrities in the UK.

Reports suggest that the social network is charging up to £10 for the chance to send a private message to a stranger.

The same system has been trialled in the US among a "small number" of users since 2012.

Facebook's idea is to "address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient".

It says the system will cut spam, and allow people to contact users outside their social circle.

In the UK three price tiers are being tested - $1, $5 or $15, or roughly 71p to £10.08.

The Sunday Times reported that a message to Olympic diver Tom Daley would cost the maximum charge, but writing to Miranda Hart would set you back just 71p. It's unclear how that cost was calculated, and we haven't been able to test it ourselves.

But Facebook stressed that the system was just a trial, and that the price points could be adjusted.

"We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance," Facebook said in a statement.

"For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them."

HuffPost US Tech Editor Bianca Bosker wrote last year that the experiment should concern all users of the site.

She said:

"Even Facebook users who relish the thought of making strangers think twice about using Facebook to pitch them, bug them or stalk them via messages should have concerns about the experiment. With this new tool, Facebook is essentially allowing people to pay to override your personal settings and reach you even after you explicitly stated you didn't want them to. Facebook profits from allowing people -- and, most likely, brands -- to take up your time when you made clear you didn't want them to."

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