Facebook Message Test Lets Strangers Put Notes In Your Inbox For Cash
Right now, Facebook users have an Inbox and an Others box, two places where Facebook "emails" are filtered into. As of today, Facebook is "starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with." In other words, advertisers, companies and total strangers will be able to pay an undisclosed amount to slip a message into your Inbox -- without your permission and without you even having to have them connected as a friend. Yikes.
Facebook is playing this up as a way for common people to have more direct access to strangers they may see at a convention, or hiring managers looking for folks who are super dedicated. But on the surface, it sure feels creepy. Digital communications have largely been a level playing field up until this. You can email someone regardless of your wealth or status, and there's no way for people with excess cash to get at the top of your inbox. But with this new tactic, that's changing.
This message routing feature is only for personal messages between individuals in the U.S. 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. Still, Facebook promises to evolve the service as the test plows on, so don't be shocked if you start getting notes in your Inbox from people or companies you don't even know.