This week Facebook moved forward with their latest step in a company-wide effort to unite their individual products and apps by announcing Facebook Financial, or “F2,” a new payments unit.
F2 will be helmed by David Marcus, their cryptocurrency lead, co-creator of the Libra project, and former President of PayPal. Its purpose is to drive “payments and commerce opportunities,” incorporating all of Facebook’s FinTech pursuits under one umbrella.
“We have a lot of commerce stuff going on across Facebook. It felt like it was the right thing to do to rationalize the strategy at a company level around all things payments” said Marcus.
According to Bloomberg, this includes overseeing all payments and projects within the social networking giant, including an integrated Facebook Pay which will be led by former Upwork Inc. Chief Executive Officer and PayPal executive, Stephanie Kasriel, who will serve as Vice President under Marcus. The division will also create integrated payment options within the other company-owned apps (including Instagram and WhatsApp Messenger) with the belief that if users are able to make purchases within them, they will spend more time on them, and advertising will significantly increase.
It remains to be seen whether or not the idea will be successful, given Facebook’s history of struggling to get a range of payment services off the ground including Libra, the cryptocurrency project that received immediate backlash from regulators. WhatsApp Pay was suspended by the Brazilian central bank in June, with regulators stating the decision was based on maintaining an “adequate competitive environment”. With this in mind, a priority for Marcus will be getting WhatsApp payments running in India and Brazil, a focus reflected by the company’s hefty investments into making WhatsApp a commerce destination in those markets despite regulations stalling their progress.
However, during Facebook’s second-quarter earnings call in July, Mark Zuckerberg affirmed a positive stance, stating that he is “quite excited” by the integration of e-commerce solutions within messaging apps. He further added “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.”