Facebook tests paid messaging service

Facebook’s testing a new feature whereby users can pay $1 to message non-friends and have their message routed directly to the recipient’s inbox.

Initially available in the US and only to individuals, rather than brands, it makes sure that such messages don’t languish unseen in the Other folder.

“This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient,” the company explains on a blog.

“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.”

The test comes alongside the launch of several new filters for users’ Inboxes. Instead of the current the ‘Who can send me Facebook Messages’ setting, which restricts messages to sa, friends or friends of friends, there’ll be a new choice between Basic and Strict filtering.

“If you select Basic Filtering, you’ll see mostly messages from friends and people you may know (for example, friends of friends) in your Inbox. People who had the previous setting set to ‘friends of friends’ or ‘everyone’ will have Basic Filtering on,” says the company.

“If you select Strict Filtering, you’ll see mostly messages from friends in your Inbox. People who had the previous setting set to ‘friends’ will have ‘Strict Filtering’ on.”

As a result, says Facebook, you’re more likely to see certain messages reaching your inbox: for example those coming via Messenger for Android, from people who aren’t on Facebook but have your contact info in their phone, or messages from friends coming to your @facebook.com address.