If you are a Facebook user with fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers (which is most people), you will now be able to pay money to promote your friends' post, and vice-versa, in a development announced by the social network over the weekend.
Users who cannot normally see your status updates will not be able to see your posts that have been promoted as they do not function outside of regular privacy settings, but the feature has raised privacy concerns because consent no longer has to be granted for posts to be promoted. So even if you do not want your posts to be promoted, your friends can still go ahead and do it.
The new feature is intended to be helpful to users, says Facebook. In a statement the network said "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." According to critics, however, users can equally easily promote embarrassing status updates.
Paid-for promotion will be done by selecting the drop-down menu on the top-right corner of a friend's status update, clicking 'promote and share', and paying. Facebook is currently talking about the cost per promotion as being £4.50, but this has not yet been set.
The business social networking site LinkedIn is also allegedly experimenting with the feature.