Want to Make Sure I See Your Facebook Message? Pay Up
Let’s play a game. It’s called Facebook Hide and Seek messaging. In this game, you send me a message through Facebook and then you guess whether or not I’ll ever see it and I guess where it will turn up. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Here are the rules:
First, I have to choose what kind of filtering I want on my Facebook account.
Basic Filtering is the same as “friends of friends” or “everyone”
Strict Filtering is the same as “friends”
But see that word “mostly” in both choices – that gives Facebook the right to put messages in your Inbox even if they don’t meet the requirement. Facebook says they do this for your own good, for example:
- Someone using Messenger for Android, who is not on Facebook but has your contact info in their phone, wanted to send you a message
- A friend of a friend wanted to include you in a message about a party along with some of your mutual friends
- A friend wanted to send a message to your @facebook.com address
I’ll sleep better at night knowing those areas are covered.
Messages that don’t go in your Inbox go in your “Other” folder which has apparently been around since
2011 2010 – even Facebook’s not sure.
Either way, it’s new to me. I discovered it while researching this post and what I found there was kind of disturbing. Teach me to leave my Facebook profile set to public. And can we talk about why FB labels this folder “Other” when clearly it should be labeled “Spam?”
Now, if you desperately want to message me and you need to make sure I get your message, you might be able to pay for the privilege of landing in my Inbox (or should that be Inbox folder). Facebook is testing an option where anyone can pay a small fee to have their message delivered to anyone’s Inbox completely bypassing that person’s settings.
First of all – no. Why have rules if people can pay to break them?
Second of all – no.
Facebook is charging the fee not to make money but because “Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”
It’s a good thing they’re not planning on using this as a revenue stream because really, who is going to pay for this? They make it clear that this is not intended as a mode of advertising. It’s for “personal messages” only and it only works in the U.S.. They’re also limiting the number of messages that can bypass the rule to a “maximum of one per week.” (And there’s something off about the concept of a maximum of 1, but we’ll leave it there.)
Why would anyone want to use this feature for non-nefarious reasons?
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.
I’ll admit that I have, on occasion, needed to use Facebook to contact someone because I couldn’t find another email for them. But for the most part, if you’re interested in a “job opportunity” you shouldn’t be using Facebook messaging to make contact.
Which brings me to my final point. If you want me to see your message – don’t send it through Facebook. I have real email for that.
Would you pay to send a message to someone on Facebook?