Science and Tech


Facebook Allows Users To Buy Things Right Off Newsfeed

The social media giant is testing a new "buy" button with a handful of advertisers that allows users to purchase products without leaving Facebook.
Posted at 9:40 PM, Jul 17, 2014

Facebook is trying out a new feature that's bound to make its advertisers super excited. (Getty Images)

The social media giant is testing a "buy" button that will allow users to purchase products with a simple point-and-click straight off the news feed — with the added advantage that users can finish the entire purchase without leaving Facebook. The company said it will record users' credit or debit card information using a "safe and secure" format to make the purchase. And, to start, it's experimenting the pilot program on only a handful of small-to-medium-sized companies.

Still, some people might be a little apprehensive about handing their credit card information to Facebook in light of its recently exposed "newsfeed experiment" that tracked users involvement without them knowing.

But a company statement on the new feature said they've taken the necessary precautions. 

"We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind. ... None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers." (Via Facebook)

TechCrunch also asked the social media company if they planned on charging businesses for the perk at some point to which Facebook responded, "it was not disqualifying that option."

If this takes off, Facebook's "buy" button will probably make the platform much more appealing to advertisers — something its rival Twitter has been toying with as well.

In January Re/code stumbled on what looked like a click-to-buy mockup on Twitter using an app called Fancy, though it was operated exclusively through mobile devices. Twitter made no announcement or even comment on the prototype.

However, in late June, Mashable said those "buy" option tweets popped up once again on mobile devices from Facebook's rival. Again, not a peep from Twitter though.

Plus, The Wall Street Journal pointed out in April Twitter's plan to bring "15 New Types Of Ads" to users' newsfeed, which has us at the very least speculating a purchase option will be in the mix.

Facebook's new "buy" feature is currently up and running. No word on how long the program will be in place.