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Facebook charges for messaging

Social network puts paywall in place to ‘deter unsolicited communication’ from non-friends

Facebook charges for messaging
Facebook has often been condemned by privacy advocates.

Facebook Inc is piloting a scheme whereby it charges users for messaging, if the sender is not on the recipient's friends list, online media reported today.

The charging model is currently running in the UK, with charges varying depending upon a host of factors, including how popular the recipient is, leading some media sources to highlight that the charge is levied for contacting celebrities. Some messaging charges reach close to GBP11 (AED62).

Facebook, in a statement to the Sunday Times, claimed the charging model was an anti-spam measure.

"The system of paying to message non-friends in their inbox is designed to prevent spam while acknowledging that sometimes you might want to hear from people outside your immediate social circle," the social media firm said.

"We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance."

Users will still be able to contact friends, and those with whom they have friends in common, free of charge.

Facebook has fallen foul of industry regulators and lobbyists in the past for its lax adherence to privacy standards. Its decision to amend its terms of service last November drew fury from users and it currently faces a 20-year period of regular independent audits imposed by the US Federal Trade Commission for misleading users about privacy settings within its services.

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