Facebook tests 'pay to promote post' tool

Facebook logo spread across screens The 'promote a post' system has so far only been tested in New Zealand

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Facebook has started testing a system that lets users pay to highlight or promote posts.

By paying a small fee users can ensure that information they post on the social network is more visible to friends, family and colleagues.

The tests are being carried out among the social network's users in New Zealand.

Facebook said the goal was to see if users were interested in paying to flag up their information.

Money maker

The tests of the "pay to promote" system were discovered by a Facebook user in Whangarei, reported New Zealand's news magazine Stuff.

At first, said Stuff, the user thought the offer to pay to promote a post was a con trick.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to the BBC the offer was genuine.

"We're constantly testing new features across the site," said the spokesperson. "This particular test is simply to gauge people's interest in this method of sharing with their friends."

Different methods of highlighting posts were being tested, said the spokesperson. These would see a range of charges being levied to make posts more visible. Comments on the tests suggest the highest price being charged was £1.25 ($2) while others cost 25p or 50p.

Payments could be made via credit card or PayPal.

The spokesperson said some of the methods it was trying out would incur a charge but others would highlight a post for free. The spokesperson would not be drawn on when the test would end or if it would be tried in other territories.

"We're going to see a lot more ideas like this where they are testing out different ways to try to make money," said Ian Maude, internet analyst at Enders Analysis.

Both Facebook's imminent stock market flotation and a recent slowdown in revenue growth were helping to concentrate its attention on ways to make money, he said.

"In the last few years their overall revenue has grown much more quickly than their audience," he said. However, he said, that rapid growth had slowed in the last six months and had perhaps prompted it to experiment.

The flotation will add more pressure, said Mr Maude but he added that the way the stock would be split could lighten that burden a little as Mark Zuckerberg would be left 57% of the shares.

"He's always said he wants to make money to run the company not run the company to make money," said Mr Maude.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    34.Dryad13 "this latest stupid idea could be the beginning of the end of Facebook. Fingers crossed"

    Don't get too excited. The perennial popularity of celeb magazines, Britain's Got Talent, reality TV about fat people and hoarders all leads me to believe that FB will die not from a backlash by those who value privacy but through replacement by something even more banal and socially destructive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Bauer wrote: "Can't really see this taking off, why would you pay to post to your friends? If they are your friends they will already be interested in what you have to say."

    Well Facebook's continual erosion of showing us all our friends' news with 'top news', 'subscriptions' etc. to skew what you see now makes sense. £ to be seen outside of Facebook algorithms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.


    Anybody know how I can stop seeing these?"

    Yep - Social Fixer app. Kills Timeline too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Yawn-facebook bad, yawn, facebook not worth anything, yawn, facebook charging me panic! yawn. Yawn, yawn, yawn. Most of the posters here are redolent of Mary Whitehouse...advice, if you don't like it reach for the off switch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    lets hope we don't see ads after ads on the walls rather than genuinse notes and status updates.. All these horroscopes, and today's picture is already doing my head in. Anybody know how I can stop seeing these?

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Facebook encourages users to waste their lives engaging in mostly pointless and unproductive 'networking', and society is poorer for it. Pay to promote a post? They'd have to pay me to use the thing in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    Well they had to have some plan to generate revenue to justify the huge price tag they have put on the company, 95 billion dollars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.


    Can I pay NOT to see some of the stuff on there??"

    You can do that for free using the Social Fixer app (it's author appreciates donations) - all sorts of controls - no adds, filtering sources etc, etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    We have a facebook page only because we were told it was important by a younger member. Sadly, we've too many cats to tend to to have time to keep up with the latest trending tools so perhaps we won't bother anymore!
    If they want to try and justify the price tag then good luck to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    I don't care either way :)

    It's offered, not expected. It doesn't actually have to affect you in any way if you don't want it to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    What I don't get is why no private investors will lend Greece (founders of European civilisation, inventors of democracy & western philosophical thought) a thin dime today, but Facebook (a successful free web-site when all is said and done), can raise $100billion when my granny could tell you the bubble will burst within 6 months.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    I suspect there is a strong correlation between people who live where they were born, have a small group of friends, go to the pub a lot and never really travel around, and those who believe Facebook is pointless.

    When you have friends scattered across the planet, tools such as Facebook, Skype, MSN provide an unmatched facility.

    Until something better comes along...

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    FaceBook is supposed to be about maintaining contact with friends and relatives. It's not about forcing yourself on people. There is already a perfectly good--and effective--advertising program in place (on the right hand side of the screen) so why not leave it alone? They've already made a right pig's ear of things with the new TimeLine 'feature'!

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    After what happened to Myspace with Murdoch losing millions, I think FaceBook should be very careful what they do....they may end up passing their gains to Google + or something!

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.


    The BBC comments section. The perfect solution for all narcissistic, attention-seeking self-absorbed wannabes.

    Seriously, Facebook is a useful tool for communicating and organising social events, which is all most people use it for. Don't use it if you don't want to, but think this somehow makes you a better person than everybody else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Hopefully, everyone is finally waking up to Facebook. Never used it, but know it's useful for business as another form of internet exposure.

    However, I don't think the public will be fooled again into giving so much of their personal information to strangers; who sell everthing you tell them on to other strangers. Or will they?

    Social media companies are not your friends - you are a product.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    I'm glad I deleted my FB.

    Don't need it, go out and get some fresh air or something.
    You kids.......lol

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    A quick way to get defriended

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    Many people are getting fed up with facebook at the moment. It is covered with adverts and is making it more difficult to get around. There are too many games and promotions that interfere with the whole concept. It is becoming over blown and bulky. More and more people will desert it shortly and if they try to bring in chargiiing then amny more will just leave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    If this is only for friends then I don't see it as much of a problem, as I don't have any companies as "friends". If posts from companies and groups that appear in my news feed are included, then I might use my Google+ account for a change. 1st friend to pay gets removed though.


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