Expy Multimedia: Facebook to allow users highlight posts for a fee, as subscribers pass 1 billion

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Facebook to allow users highlight posts for a fee, as subscribers pass 1 billion

In what appears to be a new bid to add more profitability to the social network, Facebook has begun testing a new feature that would allow users to increase the visibility of their post for a token fee.

“As part of a test starting today, people in the US can promote personal posts to their friends on Facebook,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
“Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed,” it said.
“When you promote a post — whether it’s wedding photos, a garage sale, or big news — you bump it higher in news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it.”
The option will be made available to users with fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers, Facebook said.
Facebook did not specify the price of the new service, but TechCrunch.com said it would start at $7 per post, making it a potentially major source of profit for the social network, which counts 955 million members.
The testing began in New Zealand in May and has gradually spread to other countries.
A dismal stock market debut in May raised questions about Facebook’s profitability, and since then the company has said it is considering new revenue-generating schemes, including charging for some services.
Last month the company revamped its “Offers” service to require payments, starting at $5 per ad, for the deals offered through Facebook — making companies pay for what had been free advertising until now.
Facebook has also added a feature that lets users send real-life cupcakes, coffee, stuffed animals or other gifts to friends in the social network.
The “Gifts” program is being rolled out gradually, starting in the United States, and Facebook stands to get a fee for brokering purchases.
The world’s largest social network has seen its stock price sag since its market debut at $38 per share.

Facebook Surpasses One Billion Users

Facebook now has more than one billion people using it every month, the company has said.
The passing of the milestone was announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg on US television on Thursday.
The company said that those billion users were to date responsible for 1.13 trillion “likes”, 219 billion photos and 17 billion location check-ins.
The site, which was launched in 2004, is now looking towards emerging markets to build its user base further.
“If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote in a status update.
“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.”
Statistics released to coincide with the announcement revealed there were now 600 million users accessing the site via a mobile device – up 48 million from 552 million in June this year.
 Since its early beginnings at Harvard University, Facebook users have befriended each other 140.3 billion times.
Sustained growth is seen as crucial if Facebook is to maintain its value – the company has seen its share price drop to about $22 (£17) from a starting price of $38.
Investors will expect the company to look at ways to make more from the users it already has as well as seeking to attract new users in areas of the world where it does not yet dominate.
“For Facebook the main challenge is not just to grow in terms of numbers, but more importantly to deepen and enrich engagements,” said Eden Zoller, principal analyst at tech research firm Ovum.

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