Facebook’s has applied changes to its messaging service that now includes an optional payment scheme, a system that Gmail and other emailing service providers offer free of charge.
Last week, the social networking giant introduced in a post on its official newsroom website that some users can start sending messages to other Facebook users who are not on their friends list for just a dollar.
Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! and other emailing services need a person’s email address but do not require users to pay the $1 fee that Facebook will ask from its members.
Facebook contends its principle went through a deliberation between several commentators and investigators who remarked that the enforcement of a fee on the sender probably is the most efficient method to deter undesirable messages and eases up the delivery of useful and relevant messages.
The firm believes its new inbox management system will stop spammers from filling up inboxes with thousands of messages by filtering out these users’ to the “Other” folder, where less relevant messages reside, rather than in the main Inbox folder.
Unless Facebook has other pressing reasons to impose the scheme, it will simply be another front to make money from its millions of users, an easy deduction from a company rapidly losing shares since its overhyped $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year.
The firm ended 2011 and started 2012 with a notable reputation for showing more concern on its users than receiving hefty revenue from them, but it apparently wants this year to end with another attempt to obtain money from its members.
Simply called as an “Inbox delivery test”, the plan seems to be a failing effort in its early stages and Facebook will likely pull the $1 fee if its members are indifferent.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, and his employees now more than ever need to show Wall Street analysts and investors the firm’s prospects of generating volumes of cash.
Since it is already into advertising, Facebook is highly likely to look for more ways to add revenue streams that involve more credit card numbers from its horde just like Amazon does it.
The firm’s recently launched Facebook Gifts service to send wine, clothes, etc. to other members, which exclusively accepts credit card numbers rather than PayPal or other online payment channels, is another sign that it is focused on revenue-generating projects.
Instagram, the photo-editing service provider that Facebook acquired in September this year, made an unwanted decision to use users’ photos for third-party advertisements, but it immediately pulled out the short-lived plan to change its terms of service after an outrage from users.
Facebook’s latest changes remind us that so-called ‘free’ social media services actually come with ulterior motives not limited to money.
This startling realization raises the question: how long can social media sites continue to offer free services as users continually add personal thoughts and files to their accounts that will require additional expenses for storage space and operational costs?
With Facebook and similar sites constantly adding new features and services apparently intended for collecting more details from its users, it’s time to think deliberately on what information to feed them.