How much would you pay to send a personal note to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg?
Facebook is offering some users the option to pay $100 (£62) to have their private messages land in Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook inbox rather than his "Other" folder, where Facebook messages go to die.
A Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement that the social network is "testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam." She explained that the fee is part of the social network's new experimental feature, announced in December, that allows select users to pay $1 (62p) to send messages to people outside of their social connections.
"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," Facebook said in a statement last month.
The $1 option was presented to a "small number" of users in the US before Christmas, limiting people to one paid message per week to start. Once a non-friend responds to the message, charges for conversation cease.
If the recipient moves your note to the Other or Spam folders, though, all bets are off and no amount of outlay will open contact again.
The Other folder — unknown to most Facebook users — made headlines over the summer when a bug within the API for certain mobile devices accidentally synced a user's @facebook.com email address rather than their primary address. Normally, if you are not connected to a person on Facebook, any message that you send to them will be routed to this "Other" folder in their Facebook Messages inbox. Most Facebook users, however, don't actually know this folder exists, so messages sent there often go unread.
As a result, having the option to pay to have messages routed to someone's inbox might be an appealing feature for someone who wanted to contact a Facebook user (or Zuckerberg) for business purposes.
Mashable suggested that the $100 payment option pops up only for users who are not one of the Zuck's 16 million followers. But some users say that that is not always the case — people who do not follow Zuckerberg have reported being able to send him a message with no payment prompt.
The experimental pay-as-you-email feature has not yet made it to Facebook UK, but it would seem likely that wider trialling of the scheme would take place before it was implemented in earnest.