Facebook's user numbers might be in decline, but there is no doubt the company is hoping to make more money out of those who do use the service than ever before. At the end of last week Facebook updated its terms and policies, opening up the door to an increase in location-based advertisements and payment capabilities.
In Facebook's blog post the company touched on the changes made to payments:
"Make purchases more convenient: In some regions, we’re testing a Buy button that helps people discover and purchase products without leaving Facebook. We’re also working on new ways to make transactions even more convenient and secure."
More revealing and interesting than Facebook's blog post however, are the details uncovered by a closer inspection of the company's updated data policy:
"If you use our Services for purchases or financial transactions (like when you buy something on Facebook, make a purchase in a game, or make a donation), we collect information about the purchase or transaction. This includes your payment information, such as your credit or debit card number and other card information, and other account and authentication information, as well as billing, shipping and contact details."
Last month's leak of hidden code in Facebook's mobile app raised suspicion that the company was keen to enter the payments world in a bigger way. These updates to the data policy confirm what we were already becoming pretty certain of: Facebook is looking to new avenues beyond advertising to raise its revenues - and hence payments is slowly but surely becoming ever more important to Mark Zuckerberg and co.
It remains to be seen if users of the social media site will put their trust and confidence in Facebook to handle payments. Most likely, those already turned off by the over reaching privacy invasions of Facebook will be pushed even further away, and those who have accepted Facebook's omnipresence in their lives will generate a lot of revenue for the company.
I personally feel the same way I did about twitter's foray into payments. Social media is for sharing and payments is not something I want to share. I'd rather institutions and companies based in security handled that.
17th November 2014
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