The Uganda Wildlife Authority is using an innovative approach to raise awareness of and funds for endangered gorillas. The ‘Friend a Gorilla’ website allows users to become friends on Facebook with their chosen gorilla for $1. The gorilla will then appear in their friends list and its status updates will appear in their news feed.

This is the first example I’ve seen of paying for friends on Facebook. While a charity is a laudable start, it may open up the practice to commercial organisations. Would you pay £1 to be one of a limited number of friends of Stephen Fry to get exclusive updates? And if so, how long until this practice is extended to creating a private Twitter network?