Would you pay 71p to contact Robert Peston on Facebook?

Facebook is to charge users to contact celebrities outside their circle of friends. Its secret 'fame algorithm' charges Facebookers £10.68 to send a message to Olympic swimmer Tom Daley, and 71p to contact Robert Peston or Miranda Hart.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Facebook's come up with yet another money-spinning idea to boost revenues and prop up its share price (which is still languishing at almost half its IPO value). From this week, the world's biggest social network is launching a trial to charge certain users for contacting celebrities.

The move follows Facebook's decision in January to charge users $100 to contact founder Mark Zuckerberg. The idea is to reduce the amount of spam that 'celebrities' receive, while making Facebook a few bob at the same time.

Although MT thinks it's a little unfair that the slebs themselves don't get a cut - it is their efforts on stage and screen that bring about the celebrity status after all. Oh, except if you're Cressida Bonas. It costs 71p to contact her simply because she's dating Prince Harry.

The trial has been running over the in US since December with the UK joining a roster of 36 countries that have been added to the experiment this year. Facebook has released a statement confirming that the trial has begun but insisting that it may not be rolled out across the whole network.

'There is no set timescale,' a spokesperson told The Guardian. 'It depends on what happens, what feedback we get as to whether it is rolled out nationally. We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance. This is still a test and these prices are not set in stone.'

Given that many celebrities use aliases on Facebook while their public accounts are run by a PR or marketing bod, MT hopes that fans of the A List don't get too excited about the opportunity to pay a few quid to get a message to Lady Gaga or David Beckham.

And watch out for scraps between warring stars when the 'fame algorithm' puts rates one celeb at 71p and another at a tenner... 

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