Facebook announced this week that it’s testing a “Buy” button feature on the site that would allow users to make purchases without leaving Facebook. While it’s a good idea, and an inevitability, to combine online retail and social media, many users are likely to be put off by the thought of trusting Facebook with their credit card information. Facebook preemptively addressed those concerns in its press release announcing the new feature, saying:
“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.”
Of course, the site’s move into e-commerce will have plenty of detractors, and Facebook will have to prove it belongs on the same stage as industry giants such as Amazon and eBay. However, with Facebook’s already-massive user base growing every day, there’s no denying that the move will be a hugely profitable one for Facebook. It remains to be seen, however, just how users will react to the potential privacy ramifications.
“This is the breakthrough that Facebook needs to make e-commerce successful,” Chris Petersen, president of Integrated Marketing Solutions, told Forbes. “However, hell hath no fury like a consumer whose credit card data is stolen.”
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