Facebook Inc. said Thursday it has begun testing a system for users to send messages to people outside their immediate circle of social contacts for a payment of one dollar, as the company continues to find new ways to capitalize on its popularity.
In a statement posted online, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social site cited research showing that “imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”
Facebook says the new test is designed to route messages sent from outside of a network of contacts around the lower-priority “Other” folder on a Facebook page, and directly into a user’s “Inbox“—for a small fee.
Each message sent will initially cost $1, though Facebook plans to continue tinkering with prices.
Facebook said the new message-routing feature will only be for personal messages between people in the U.S., and the maximum number that can be sent around someone’s Other folder to their Inbox per week is capped at one.
The latest move comes a few months after Facebook started testing a separate service that enabled users to pay $7 to make their personal posts more visible among contacts on the site.
Facebook, which has garnered one billion monthly active users, is also pursuing a number of online advertising and commerce initiatives as it seeks to bolster investor confidence.
After going public in May with its shares priced at $38, Facebook’s stock proceeded to dip below $20.
However, the shares have risen more than 20% in the past three months, and were trading at about $27.30 Thursday afternoon.