Facebook, ever mindful of an opportunity to monetise its huge user base, is to begin charging UK members up to a tenner to send a private message to celebrities, public figures or even just newly met strangers.
The social network is said to be investigating use of a sliding scale of fees based on a users number of followers and the number of people paying to message them – the more of both a user has the more it’ll cost you to get in touch.
Facebook is touting the new system as a means to prevent popular members from being deluged with ‘spam’ messages.
The popular site previously allowed members to send messages to non-friends for free, depositing them in their inbox without fuss. More recently it has diverted such missives to an ‘other’ mailbox however.
According to reports in the Sunday Times fans wishing to get in touch with Olympic diver Tom Daley would be hit with a £10.68 charge for the privilege whilst those hoping to catch the attention of author Salman Rushdie would have to stump up £10.08.
In a statement Facebook said: "The system of paying to message non-friends in their Facebook inbox is designed to prevent spam, while acknowledging that sometimes you might want to hear from people outside your immediate social circle. We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance. Part of that test involves charging higher amounts for public figures, based on the number of followers they have.
"This is still a test and these prices are not set in stone."