Facebook testing Private Messages for Pages

Facebook has confirmed it is testing a new feature: Private Messages for Pages. It lets users contact Page owners privately, whether or not they have Liked a given Page.

Facebook is testing a feature that allows its users to communicate privately with Page owners. Some individuals, mainly in Singapore, are seeing Private Messages for Pages appearing on their account: think of it as an option to ask for help without posting on the Page's public Wall.

Although Private Messages for Pages is not available to everyone yet, Facebook has confirmed its existence. "We are currently testing a feature that allows people and Pages to communicate privately," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We have no further details to share at this time."

As you can see in the screenshot above, courtesy of We Are Social, Page owners will have the option to turn this feature on or off. When enabled, users will be able to message Page owners regardless of whether or not they have Liked the corresponding Page.

It's important to note that Page owners cannot initiate private conversations with anyone unless the user in question has made a post or commented on their Page. If they have, a little Message link appears next to the user's name and when clicked on, allows the Page owner to message the user privately.

For users, the messages look just like the ones you send between your Facebook friends. Administrators meanwhile receive notifications under their menu telling them they have received a private message.

If and when this feature rolls out to everyone, Page owners will have a tough choice to make since private messages don't create a News Feed story. On the one hand, Pages want their users to post positive comments publicly, not privately, in order to generate Likes as well as more discussion. On the other hand, Pages would probably rather have complaints sent to them privately, so as not to tarnish their brand.

Three months ago, Facebook removed the Send Update feature that allowed Page owners to send messages to people who Liked their Page. Private Messages for Pages is probably meant to replace Send Update, while at the same time also letting users directly contact Page owners.

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