F2: Facebook’s unit for payment projects launched

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Facebook introduces a new division called Facebook Financial, under which all its payment projects, including Facebook Pay will fall.

Through Facebook Financial (called F2 internally), which will be led by David Marcus, the social networking giant seeks to boost shopping across its platforms to compete with Amazon as the world witnesses a steady upswing e-commerce amidst the pandemic.

This is the latest step in a company-wide push to get the different products and applications from Facebook closer together. It re-branded Instagram and WhatsApp in the past two years so people know they are owned by Facebook, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed plans to merge all messaging services of the company.

The idea is that if users can make purchases on Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, then the ads on Facebook will become more profitable, and users can spend more time within the apps of the brand.

The company had started rolling out Facebook Pay, a payment service, on its main Facebook site and Messenger app, while it launched Facebook Shops in May to enable sellers to build digital storefronts on Facebook or Instagram in what analysts at Deutsche Bank described as a $30 billion-a-year revenue opportunity.

For the new division, enabling payments within WhatsApp in India and Brazil will be of high priority. The business has invested heavily to make WhatsApp a commercial destination in those markets, but in both countries, bureaucracy has slowed its efforts.

Facebook said it wanted people everywhere to be empowered to send money to each other, however, they choose-debit, credit or digital currencies Libra.

Libra is a permission-based blockchain digital currency proposed by Facebook. The currency and network do not yet exist, and only a rudimentary experimental code has been released.

Facebook added that they want to ensure that decision making, implementation and compliance are not fragmented, as they have multiple payment features across their apps.

Former Uptown Chief Executive Stephane Kasriel was also appointed by Facebook as Vice President of Payments to supervise the Payments product team and will report directly to Marcus.