Facebook: Now Pay to Promote Your Friends' Posts

Posted on February 16, 2013

Got $7 burning a hole in your pocket? Want to promote a post on Facebook, but don't want to appear egotistical? Then boy, are you going to be pleased by Thursday's news from the social network: you can now (or will soon be able to) pay to promote your friends' posts.

Facebook has let you pay to promote your own posts since October. For $7, the company promised, you could make a given post appear higher in your friends' feeds. It was a controversial new revenue stream that critics feared would turn your News Feed into a rigged game — one in which we'd all start paying to level the playing field.

We haven't seen a whole lot of evidence of that so far. But that may change with social pressure to promote certain important posts from friends. "If your friend is running a marathon for charity and has posted that information publicly, you can help that friend by promoting their post to all of your friends," a spokesperson told AllFacebook.

"Or if your friend is renting their apartment out and she tells her friends on Facebook, you can share the post with the people you and your friend have in common so that it shows up higher in other news feeds and more people notice it."

Well, who would be so mean as to cling on to $7 rather than promote a friend's charity marathon? Or help them find an apartment? Newspapers around the country, brought low by Craigslist's dominance over classified ads, must be kicking themselves that they didn't think of fighting back with this kind of social network business model.

The feature will be rolling out gradually to all users, says Facebook, and won't be available to those of us with more than 5,000 friends and followers — presumably because it's technologically tough to promote a post in that many feeds. Also, you won't be able to change the privacy settings on the post you're promoting, so if it was set to just that person's friends, then only your mutual friends will see it if you promote it.