Facebook says paid messages will reduce spam by charging up to £10.68
Facebook has started rolling out its paid messaging service in the UK, charging users up to £10.68 to contact celebrities or people outside of their friend circles.
Messages to friends and to users with mutual friends remain free, with Facebook claiming the measures are designed to prevent spam while offering the opportunity to share news, such as job offers.
Users can still contact people outside of their social circle, but unless they are prepared to fork out, the intended recipient will not be notified, with the message sent to a less visible folder that most people rarely check.
Facebook paid messages
There are limits on the amount of messages that can be sent and the service is only available to individuals rather than corporations, but critics have suggested this is merely a way for the social network to generate more revenue.
The Facebook paid messages service was first introduced in the US last December, with most users charged $1, $5 or $15 depending on the popularity of the intended recipient. A $100 charge for messaging the most popular Facebook users was scrapped after it emerged this included founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In the UK, the charges are generally determined by how many followers a user has, however there are some exceptions.
The highest tier includes Olympic diver Tom Daley, who has more than 1.4 million followers, but also includes a fake account for musician Ed Sheeran and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, who has just 3,000 followers. The standard charge for a message from one ordinary user to another is 71p.
Facebook has already introduced a promoted posts feature that lets users catapult their posts to the top of their friends’ timelines, a feature that has been enjoyed by businesses for some time.