$100 to Facebook message Mark Zuckerberg? Bargain!

Facebook is testing various methods to reduce spam. One of these is to charge large sums to those who message those with vast followings. It could be good value for some.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- I woke up this morning wanting to tell the world about all the fun last night.

I wanted to tell Beyonce about how much one woman told me she had worked in order to get her man to put a ring on it.

I wanted to tell Britney Spears that there were still people in the world who adored her music and some of them are here in Nevada, worried that she's leaving "The X Factor."

And I wanted to tell Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that I had met so many fine young people in Vegas who were simply desperate to be him.

Suddenly, I heard that if I wanted to use Facebook for any of these communications, it might cost me $100.

Mashable had reported the quite frightening news that some people were being asked to pay such an amount in order to send a Facebook message to the exalted.

Thankfully, the Wall Street Journal had mustered an explanation from Facebook. It appears that the site is concerned about the amount of spam that wafts about its pages. Especially the amount of spam directed at those who have vast and emotional numbers of subscribers.

Facebook is also experimenting with allowing only one message per week to be sent to these immensely popular people whose Facebook pages are probably manned by flunkies, rather than the deities themselves.

I know that many might be outraged at the idea that Facebook might charge such an enormous amount for what might truly amount to painfully meaningless access to the rich, the famous and the notorious. Yet think about what real human beings are prepared to do in order to experience the very slightest proximity -- however much imagined -- with their heroes.

By charging $100, Facebook may not merely be expressing its deep desperation for revenue. It may also tapping into a bottomless and lucrative well of adoration.

There are people who will travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles in order to (hope to) catch a glimpse of some famous being. There are those who think nothing of paying vast money for a lock of hair that purported to come from some starlet's fur coat.

There are even people who will go out of their way to visit Facebook's own headquarters in Menlo Park, just to be photographed with the company's "like" logo.

Think of the pride people would feel in the sure knowledge that their message to Mark would get through. Think of how they could show off in their status updates: "I just paid $100 to message Mark Zuckerberg." And think how Facebook could then use these status updates to create ads for this $100 message capability.

Once upon a time, Facebook was a place where the masses would congregate and mill. Now, it can be a place where you can genuflect and venerate as you communicate -- and pay good money to do it.