Facebook now charges you for messages sent to celebrities and people you aren't friends with

The 'priority messages' system has been introduced to the UK after successful US trial

Facebook has started charging UK users up to £10 to send messages to celebrities and people they aren't friends with.

The social networking giant says the moves are to stop users being bombarded with messages from strangers.

Facebookers can still communicate with friends and people with whom they share mutual friends for free.

Those who want to contact non-friends can now either pay a fee of around 71p to send the message directly to a person’s inbox along with an automatic alert, or send the message for free to a less visible folder. Many Facebook users do not even know this other folder exists.

Users can pay the fee online instantly with a credit or debit card, but under-18s are barred from doing so. They are also blocked from receiving unsolicited messages.

According to The Sunday Times, the company is testing a sliding scale of fees for celebrities based on how popular it perceives an individual to be.

A message to Olympic diver Tom Daley will cost £10.68, while US rapper Snoop Dogg commands a message fee of £10.08.

The price structure uses an algorithm that often takes into account the number of followers a user has on Facebook. Facebook keeps all the money raised by the fees.

The company insists that paid “priority messages” are aimed at preventing users from being bombarded with unwanted communications from strangers. There is also a cap on the number of paid messages any user can receive.

A roll-out of the premium service to British users began at the end of last month after a successful trial in America.

Facebook said in a statement: “The system of paying to message non-friends in their 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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific