Facebook has confirmed that they are testing a feature which allows people to communicate privately with Facebook Pages owners through the message option.
However, it appears that this is currently only available in Asia.
This new feature is enabled when a user wants to send a direct message to any particular Facebook page and they don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the page. When the user clicks on the Message button on a Page, a direct message window comes up where individual users can enter a message. This feature also enables visitors, who aren’t yet fans of a page, to send messages to the page owner, something that was not available in Facebook messages till now. In terms of the aesthetics of this feature, it is pretty identical to the normal message tab available in your Facebook account.
From the screenshots below, it looks like page owners will have the option to choose whether or not they would like to accept private messages.
Administrators or page owners will receive notifications under their admin menu after which they can exchange a string of messages with individual user; however pages cannot initiate private conversations with their fans or others unless the user initiates a comment or posted a message on the page.
Although the test feature looks like a minor update at the first glance the implications of this “Private Messages for Pages” feature can be quite huge. The ability to exchange private messages with members and non members of the social network lets the page owner’s communicate with their customers about services off the public wall. However, if users and fans start using the “Private Messages for Pages” feature as a regular communication method the page might see a drop in News Feed story and will impact the amount of publicity the page would have got when a users friend saw the page mentioned in his recent activities feed.
This move by Facebook is very similar to Twitter where brands that follow their followers back can easily communicate through private DM messages.
I certainly hope this feature tests well and stays permanently on Facebook as it will be a very simple way to communicate one-on-one with those Facebook fans that you really want to.