Would you pay Facebook to help you promote certain posts?

The social network is testing a feature to make your posts more prominent, and it could end up requiring a fee.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Do you feel your Facebook posts sometimes get lost in the crowd? The social network is testing a new feature that could help them stand out more.

A Facebook user in New Zealand apparently stumbled upon the feature, according to news site Stuff.co.nz. After logging into his Facebook account, the user reportedly received a message asking if he wanted to pay 1.80 in New Zealand dollars ($1.42) to highlight an important post to make sure his friends would see it.

The message gave him a choice of paying via credit card or PayPal. The user initially thought the message might be a scam

But in fact, it is a feature currently being tested by the company.

A Facebook spokesman confirmed the test, telling CNET that "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."

A post highlighted through this new feature would appear higher in the news feed of the user's friends and could appear to more friends as well.

Though the message wanted the user in New Zealand to cough up some dough to highlight a post, Facebook told Stuff.co.nz that the company is testing the feature at different price levels.

The idea is to see whether people would be interested in the feature, how much they'd use it, and how much they'd be willing to pay for it.

Some trial users are getting it for free while others are being asked to pay from among a range of prices, all the way up to 2.49 in New Zealand dollars ($1.96).

The timing of this new feature is intriguing as it comes just when Facebook is gearing up to go public . As the company currently makes most of its money on advertising, this could be one way of testing the waters to see whether people would pony up cash for special features.

So, here's the question for all you Facebook users out there. Would you pay to highlight an important post?

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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