Let’s Hope This Paid Facebook Message Experiment Fails

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Facebook is not for reaching out to strangers.Facebook Messages is not an email replacement. 

Facebook is for sharing stuff with your friends, people you actually know and want to talk to.

So I don’t understand why Facebook is testing a feature that lets strangers pay $1 to send you an unsolicited message.

It’s not going to be a huge revenue generator. It’s not fixing a spam problem, because there is no spam problem with Facebook messages. (Facebook filters messages from non-friends to a spam folder called Other. You probably never check it, but if you did all you’d see are a bunch of messages from strangers and maybe some company pages you follow.) 

I don’t think the new paid messages are bad or good or creepy. I just don’t understand why a social network that’s all about connecting you with people you already know in real life is making it easier for strangers to reach out to you.

Here’s Facebook’s explanation:

This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. 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.

Isn’t that what email is for? And Facebook Messages definitely isn’t an email replacement. (Even Mark Zuckerberg says so!)

I don’t want anyone who isn’t my Facebook friend to send me a message on Facebook. Why make it easier for them to weasel their way into my inbox?

Luckily, the paid Facebook messages are an experimental feature. Let’s hope the experiment fails.