From our Two Steps Forward, One Step Back desk

Facebook vampire Mark (Data) Suckahberg is at it again, now messing with your  messaging feature, described here in typical Facebookese.

Translation for the Facebook-impaired, via PR Newser:


Facebook To Let Strangers, Brands Send You Paid Messages

Today brings yet another reason for Facebook’s billion-plus users to get their collective knickers in a bunch. In its latest attempt to catch the white whale we call “revenue”, Facebook announced changes to its messaging feature: the network will soon offer a pay-per-message service to test audiences before making it available to all users.

The changes also include new inbox filter options: by choosing the “strict filter” option, users could automatically send messages from non-friends to the little-seen “other” folder…unless said parties pay up.


According to PR Newser, “this option moves a step beyond ‘sponsored posts’, and we have a feeling brands will use it to send promotional messages to carefully targeted users.”

Others, like Market Intelligence Center, have a less sanguine view of the change:


Facebook’s $1 messaging feature: Has the social network lost its way?

Facebook (FB) announced a new feature Thursday. For the price of $1 you can now send a message to someone you don’t know without fear that the message will go into that person’s “Other” folder.

If you didn’t know, the “Other” folder is where Facebook sends messages it deems “less relevant.” This apparently includes messages it thinks might be spam, or messages from people you aren’t friends with.

Facebook says it uses social and algorithmic signals to decide which messages go to which folder . . . the social network said it is running “a small experiment to test of the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance.”

In English, that means anyone can pay a dollar to get a message into your inbox. A message from someone you’ve never heard of? Inbox. A message Facebook’s algorithms flag as spam? Inbox.


In other words, your Inbox is about to become an Adbox.

Time to Face(book) it: “Sharing with friends” on Facebook is all about Facebook’s sharing you with marketers.

Like that?


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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