Facebook regularly changes its terms and conditions, gradually giving itself more freedom and forcing every piece of data out of its users. This creates a massive uproar – most recently at the end of January (https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms/update), however the only option for dissatisfied Facebook users is to turn their back on the social network.
Apart from the data protection law concerns about the changes, the last time the T&Cs changed there was an issue around payments – https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/update – which includes the following passage:
“If you use our Services for purchases or financial transactions (like when you buy something on Facebook, make a purchase in a game, or make a donation), we collect information about the purchase or transaction. This includes your payment information, such as your credit or debit card number and other card information, and other account and authentication information, as well as billing, shipping and contact details.”
So Facebook also analyses buying data as well as user behaviour. This means it is possible for customised advertising to have its own “Buy” button and it is unlikely that Facebook would allow other payment methods to get a look in. It is more probable that a “Buy with Facebook” button would both log the customer in using their Facebook account and, at the same time, make payments with the stored card or PayPal data. Facebook already conducted tests with a “Buy” button in the US in mid-2014 (https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Discover-and-Buy-Products-on-Facebook-Test).
It goes without saying that due to its massive number of users, Facebook has the potential to set up a payment and money transfer system that will catch on rapidly. But I’m sceptical. When it comes to online payments users are most concerned about security – Facebook does not have a particularly good reputation in this regard because it is known as a data leech. The regular T&C changes that users are simply obliged to accept continue to shatter trust in the company. In my eyes that is not enough for a successful payments system.