As part of a “small experiment,” Facebook is charging $1 to members who want to access the inbox of those on the social network who they may not know.
It could become another revenue stream for the newly-public company looking to impress investors. It is similar to a LinkedIn feature on that network’s InMail service.
Facebook’s experiment is meant to get the most relevant messages into your Inbox, diverting the less relevant ones into your Other folder.
Facebook uses “social” signals, such as friend connections, to evaluate whether a message is one you want to see in your inbox. The social network also uses algorithms to identify spam and use broader signals from the social graph, such as friend of friend connections or people you may know, to help establish relevance.
As Facebook puts it:
“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.”
In this test, the number of messages a person can have routed from their Other folder to their Inbox will be limited to a maximum of one per week, Facebook said.
Here is Facebook’s blog post on the new fee found under the heading: “Inbox delivery test.”