As Facebook continues to expand on its user experience, the site recently began testing a new feature that will give users the ability to reach more people with their posts and status updates. Currently being tested in New Zealand, Facebook’s new “Highlight” feature would allow users to post status updates that would be visible to their entire friends list… for a price tag of two dollars.
According to current statistics, only 12% of a user’s Facebook friends can see a given post or status update on their timeline. Facebook spokesperson Mia Garlick explained, “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.” While the main focus of testing has been on promoting the paid “Highlight” feature, Facebook is also currently offering the same tool to an even more limited number of users for free. No word on the exact rules and regulations attached to the feature.
With Facebook finally making its debut as a public company, it’s increasingly apparent that the site is looking for more ways to translate its social community into a moneymaking platform. This potential change sets the precedent of Facebook charging its users for paid profile features.
By using the “Highlight” feature as, essentially, a megaphone, users will be able to increase their reach by up to 88%. Along with the excitement about the potential for an expanded audience, of course, come the concerns that this feature will be abused by promoters and businesses that will gladly pay a couple bucks to spam our newsfeeds with their products and events.
There’s still no indication that this proposed feature will even make it out of New Zealand. But if it does, I’m sure we’ll all know once we start scrolling past posts from people we don’t even remember friending. Only time will tell….