updated 09:00 pm EDT, Wed May 30, 2012
Highlight feature appears to be in testing for select pages
Facebook's previously rumored post-monetizing feature appears to have been rolled out for select users. A tweet from the administrator for the music blog Gorilla vs. Bear shows the interface for the new feature, with Facebook charging between $15 and $100 to promote individual posts that reach 5,800 and 39,000 users, respectively.
The Highlight feature had previously emerged when a user in Whangarei, New Zealand stumbled across it, initially believing it to be a scam. The feature was confirmed, though, in a Stuff interview with the social network's Mia Garlick. Promoted posts will apparently have a yellow background, making them stand out among users' news feeds. It is currently unknown how intrusive the ads will be or whether users will have the ability to opt out of viewing sponsored posts.
In a statement to Time Magazine, a Facebook spokesperson clarified that the Highlight feature is still under testing and is intended for use by small- and medium-sized businesses to promote their content on Facebook.
The new feature represents the first attempt by Facebook to make money directly from its users. The social network has been looking to demonstrate to investors that it can in fact leverage its massive user base to generate revenues, despite its well-documented struggles in its advertising efforts. The market, of late, has expressed little confidence in the social network, and shares in the company declined another 2.25 percent today.