I noticed the other day that Facebook asked me if I would like to pay to send a Facebook Message to someone who I was not already Friends with. A bit of tinkering around and before I knew it, I was being asked to pay nearly $10 to send a message to our NZ Prime Minister, John Key! Strangely enough, it wasn’t a consistent charge for everyone – it was 66c for someone else, and nothing for others (including Mark Zuckerberg – although others have been charged USD$100). I was advised that “the payment helps confirm your message isn’t spam which isn’t allowed in Facebook Messages”, which may be true, however it does also appear to be another potential revenue stream for the monolithic social network. It’s an option that Facebook are currently trialling (not everyone seems to have this ‘feature’ available) and is connected to some changes made last year to Messages so they are filtered depending on the options you’ve chosen and whether you are connected to the sender on Facebook.
It is an interesting move by Facebook – I doubt it will be well received. And in the meantime, you might want to consider using good old email, or Twitter/ LinkedIn to get in touch with people outside of your Facebook network.