Facebook is testing a feature that lets users pay to highlight a particular post at the top of their friends’ news feeds.
The feature is being tested in New Zealand, where a user told a local news site that he had been given the option to pay for more visibility.According to the report on Stuff.co.nz, the feature offers the promoted posts for different price points to different users — some are getting the offer to promote posts for free, while others are being asked to pay a fee to use the tool.
When asked for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said, “We’re constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing with their friends.”
It’s a rare move from Facebook , which has always made its money by pitching its public social data to advertisers rather than trying to make money off its users directly.
On Thursday, the company said that it will be adding paid apps to its platform, which has only supported some in-app payments up to this point.
Both moves would help the company generate revenue in new ways, particularly as users shift to mobile and away from the desktop display ads that have spurred the company to its current success. Finding new avenues for revenue is important for Facebook not just as a company, but also because of its upcoming market debut.
Late Wednesday, the company updated its S-1 filing to address the shift to mobile, underscoring that it currently does “not generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products” and that it has no proven success in doing so.
Opening the option of paid posts to the average user is certainly one way to generate new revenue. On the other hand, I have a little bit of trouble imagining what I, as a regular user, would want to pay to promote in ads to my own friends. What would you pay for? Leave us a note in the comments.
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