Facebook kicks off financial unit in another bid to capture digital payments, commerce

11 Aug, 2020 22:29
source: Singularity Financial

Singularity Financial Hong Kong August 11, 2020 – Facebook formed a new payments group called “Facebook Financial” on Monday and put David Marcus, co-creator of the company’s Libra cryptocurrency project at the helm.

Facebook Financial is an initiative to run all payments projects, including Facebook Pay, a feature it plans to build inside all of its apps.

Marcus will continue running Novi, the division that is building a digital wallet to hold the Libra cryptocurrency. He will also be involved in WhatsApp’s payments efforts in countries like India and Brazil. Marcus, who joined Facebook in 2014 after serving as president of PayPal Holdings Inc., was in charge of Facebook Messenger for four years before taking on the Libra project.

Facebook has hired former Upwork Inc. Chief Executive Officer Stephane Kasriel to serve as a payments vice president under Marcus.

This is the latest step in a companywide effort to bring Facebook’s individual products and apps closer together. In the past two years, it re-branded Instagram and WhatsApp so people know they are owned by Facebook, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to integrate all the company’s messaging services.

Facebook hasn’t yet made an official announcement about its Facebook Financial initiative.

Facebook created the new payments group so that its billions of members can easily make purchases on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger and spend more time on the company’s digital properties, thus enhancing advertising.

“In this critical time, Facebook is doubling down on commerce and accelerating its work to enable every business to sell online and help people gain inspiration and discover and buy the products they love,” the company said. This month, Facebook unveiled an effort, called Commerce Accelerator, which seeks to recruit startups to boost its eCommerce efforts.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was “quite excited” about commerce inside of messaging apps during the company’s second-quarter earnings call last month. “As payments grow across Messenger and WhatsApp, and as we’re able to roll that out in more places, I think that that will only grow as a trend,” he said.