In its ever-increasing quest to generate more revenue, which usually means violating user privacy preferences, Facebook announced that it will “test” market to certain accounts the ability to send private messages to the inbox of non-friends to the tune of $1.00 per message.
Now to the average Facebook user, charging for private messaging, regardless of the pricetag, may seem silly, especially since the charge is only applicable if you want to contact someone not on your friend list. But what you may not have realized is that Facebook recently fixed what was not broken (again) by enabling messaging on your account even if you had previously chosen not to. Case in point: Yours truly had messaging via Facebook available only to friends. If you weren’t a friend, then you didn’t see the “message” button on my page.
Since Facebook has now overruled that particular privacy preference, if you don’t happen to be a friend, and you message me, well then your message will go straight to an ignore folder also known as junk. Hey, Facebook taketh away your preferences, and Facebook giveth a piss-poor choice in return. It’s like Gmail – sure, you have a spam folder and it does a reasonably okay job of catching unwanted email, but if Google wasn’t selling your address to everyone and his dog in the first place, then you would not be deluged with spam. But I digress.
Since the average user (you & I) would not likely have an interest in messaging someone not on our friend list, we then have to ask ourselves which users would? Who would be willing to pay for the ability to bypass the spam folder? Ha. Perhaps those users with commercial accounts, the kind whose posts show up randomly uninvited such as the following Ram spam among the content in your newsfeed from the pages that you want to see?
Ah, yes. A flood light appears at the end of the tunnel and it belongs to an advertiser.
A pay-to-play charge of $1.00 per message to override user privacy preferences is but a drop in the bucket to a brand name marketer such as Ram. But, Facebook wants to remind you that this is, just a “test” being available only to “certain” users. Translation: Depending on the backlash from individual users, it may or may not to decide to allow coporate advertisers to bombard the shit out of your Facebook inbox with junk. And given that Facebook also recently nixed the ability for users to vote on the governance of the site, you don’t even get to have a say about its policies anymore. Which leaves it up to writers like me to remind you that Facebook does not give too much of a damn about what the individual user wants when compared to what corporate users want. You didn’t actually believe that Facebook exists for any other reason, did you?
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