Facebook users can shop for Gifts using credit cards

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Facebook is already aware of its users’ email addresses, important dates and political beliefs. Now the company is inducing them to share a bit more: credit card numbers and offline addresses.

This comes from a new Facebook service called Gifts. It allows U.S. Facebook users to buy presents for their friends on the social network.

If it catches on, the service would bring Facebook billions on e-commerce. But more important, the company would be able to collect a new stream of personal data and use it to refine targeted advertisements.

Facebook already gathers users’ credit card information when they play social games on its site. Now this information can be expanded as a wider audience may be convinced to buy a gift when Facebook reminds them about another birthday.

One of the attractiveness of Facebook Gifts is an easy purchase making. A gift-box icon pops up and nudges Facebook users to buy a gift for a Facebook friend. Users are offered a vast menu to choose from: magazine subscriptions, beer glasses, quilts, marshmallows, cake pops, and donations to charity. They can also choose a greeting card. Then credit card details’ turn comes. Facebook says the credit card information is stored, unless users remove it after making a purchase.

Gift service is also easy to access from Facebook’s mobile apps. It is not intrusive but extremely convenient. And it’s actually a gift card from a friend, based on his or her notion about you.

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