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Facebook Tests Service for U.S. Users to Promote Postings

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Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., operator of the world’s largest social network, is testing a new feature that lets users in the U.S. pay to promote their own posts on the website.

The new tool, which was introduced in more than 20 countries before its start today in the U.S., also gives users the ability to track how many friends notice the post, Facebook said on its website. The initial test price will be $7 for promoting a post, and other price points will be tried out in the future, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

“When you promote a post - whether it’s wedding photos, a garage sale, or big news - you bump it higher in news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it,” Facebook said in a statement on its website.

Facebook, which already lets companies pay to promote posts, is looking for ways to generate revenue outside of its core advertising business as investors clamor for more monetization of its more than 950 million users. Last month the company introduced a gift-giving feature for users to buy and send items to their friends to mark birthdays and other events.

The first test of the service was started in New Zealand during May, the company said.

The Menlo Park-based company fell 2 percent to $21.83 at the close in New York. The company’s shares have declined 43 percent from $38 at Facebook’s initial public offering in May.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net