Facebook today announced that users in the US can now promote posts to their friends on the social networking site. The service which was rolled out to India a little earlier, is generating a lot of buzz online. The post by Facebook reads,
As part of a test starting today, people in the US can promote personal posts to their friends on Facebook.
The test started first in New Zealand in May and gradually rolled out to people in more than 20 countries. It will now appear to people in the US.
According to TechCrunch, US users will have to pay $7 to promote their posts. Posts include photos, links, status updates etc and when users choose to promote it, their post will appear higher in the newsfeeds of their friends.
For users in India the cost appears to be Rs 99 to promote a post. You can check out details of the payment policy on Facebook here.
There appear to be a number of options to pay for such a service. The first option is via a mobile phone number which Facebook has access to if you’ve shared it. However only Airtel and BPL Mobile is supported for mobile. The other options include credit cards, PayPal, Western Union QuickPay and Moneybookers.
With promoted posts, Facebook is definitely looking at new alternatives to earning more revenue, especially given the fact that the company’s stock has taken a battering. The big question is whether users will get irritated by this feature or use it extensively. For celebrities, promoting posts might be a blessing but not every user is going to appreciate this.
We all have ‘friends’ who we’d rather not see on our Facebook newsfeeds. With paid posts it will be harder than ever to avoid some people.
But then there are some possibly innovative uses for the feature. Party invitations, the news that you’re getting married or having a baby and other big life events could be good candidates for promoted posts.
However the issue of cyber bullying is also one that cannot be be ignored. Targeting someone with embarrassing photographs or name calling and then paying to have that post promoted could be a possible consequence of this feature, and one that Facebook will have to look out for.