Facebook and the $100 Message

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This dispatch has to be prefaced by "This is only a test."

There are media reports that some Facebook ( FB) users are receiving a startling message when they try to send an email message to someone who is not a "friend." A pop-up box asks whether they want to send their message directly to the stranger -- and pay $100 to do so -- or send that message to a user's secondary mailbox for free.

Again, this is only a test according to The Verge. Facebook told TheVerge that it's been testing the idea of charging $1 per private message for the past month or so, and wanted to see the reaction to the possibility of charging an extreme price, such as $100, in some cases.

When we checked with the social networker, a Facebook representative was quick to give us the official company explanation: "We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam."

A number of Facebook users have encountered the pop-up warning when they've tried to send a message to their non-friend, CEO Mark Zuckerberg. But since it's only a test, not everyone gets the same treatment. We've tried a number of times and have never seen the $100 charge request.

Thankfully, that means we can still message the boss for free.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.