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Facebook Forms Facebook Financial To Ramp Up eCommerce, Payments Efforts

Facebook has accelerated up its eCommerce expansion efforts even as the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted online shopping.

Now, it is launching a new group within the company, Facebook Financial, that will pursue payments and eCommerce opportunities, Bloomberg News reported. The new group will be in charge of all the company’s payments projects — including Facebook Pay, its payments offering that is planned for all of its apps.

Libra project co-creator David Marcus will pilot the new initiative, dubbed F2. “We have a lot of commerce stuff going on across Facebook,” Marcus told Bloomberg. “It felt like it was the right thing to do to rationalize the strategy at a company level around all things payments.”

Facebook’s goal is to get users to spend more time inside its apps — and thus make the company’s advertising even more desirable. The overall hope is that users will buy more on Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

“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 eCommerce and the company’s apps. According to a transcript of last month's earnings call, he added that, “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,”

Marcus comes out of the payments world. He joined Facebook in 2014 from his role as president of PayPal Holdings, and ran Facebook Messenger for four years before signing on to Libra.

Bloomberg reported that Marcus will continue running Novi, the Facebook division geared to the Libra cryptocurrency. He will also be involved in WhatsApp’s payments efforts in countries like India and Brazil, where expansion plans are underway.

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