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Facebook Introduces Pay-To-Send Messaging Service

A new messaging update from Facebook guarantees that your message will get to people who likely don’t want to hear about you, provided you pay $1 per message. This feature has been rolled out since Thursday for US accounts only.

Up until now, whenever a user receives a message, Facebook computes a score for it, based on social cues such as connections between friends, paired with anti-spam and anti-bot verifications mechanisms. If a message meets the standards, it lands into the user’s inbox, otherwise it gets routed to the “Others” folder, whose contents are not displayed by default, because they are deemed as spammy.

This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient,Facebook said in a blog post. “For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their inbox.

While the explanation makes sense on paper, Facebook’s motivation seems to be driven by financial reasons, rather than by security concerns. By granting virtually anyone a clear way to the Inbox, the program could facilitate phishing and malware distribution from attackers outside the friends (or friends of friends) list.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.