Back in December, Facebook began experimenting with a new, spammy revenue model: paid messaging. A small number of users were given access to a pilot program that let them message anyone (i.e. non-friends) for a dollar. The internet wasn’t thrilled, understandably, though Facebook has a long history of not caring that the internet isn’t thrilled over its decisions. But today, the outrage is back as the company has said it’s experimenting with “extreme price points” for the service, like $100 per message.
If you try to send founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg a message on Facebook, Mashable discovered Thursday, the social network may offer to keep the message out of his “Other” Inbox — for a cool $100… Keen Facebook observers will recognize this as a variant on the $1 pay-to-message plan that the social network has been experimenting with for months. The company indicated at the time that it would be experimenting with other prices, so it’s possible we’re starting to see the fruits of that.
While this sounds at first like a new level of absurdity, a higher price should in general be a good thing for users. Plenty of people would consider spending a buck to spam you or I, but few would plunk down $100.
That said, this is still a frustrating reminder of the fact that some of the applications on which we most rely for our daily communication are controlled by single companies which are obligated to maximize return to their investors. In that scenario, our votes as users do count. Just not for everything.