Facebook has launched a new group that will focus on all things commerce and payments. Known as Facebook Financial, the new group will be headed by David Marcus, the co-creator of the Libra digital currency.
Today we're creating a new group to look after all things payments/FS @Facebook (FB Pay, Novi, WhatsApp payments, …). With that, I'm excited to welcome @skasriel to look after FB Payments. No changes @Novi, which I'll continue to lead directly.
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) August 10, 2020
Facebook Financial—to be known internally as F2—aims at making the social media giant a big player in the payments industry, a sector that Facebook has tried in vain to be part of through several projects. The new group will be in charge of Facebook Pay, the company’s payments feature. Facebook intends to integrate the feature to entice its users to conduct commerce on its platform as well as its other apps including WhatsApp and Instagram.
Marcus will still head Novi, the digital currency wallet initiative formally known as Calibra.
The creation of F2 comes at a time when Facebook has seen an uptick in commerce on its platform, Marcus stated. Speaking to Bloomberg, he added:
“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.”
Facebook has for a long time focused exclusively on ad revenue on its platform which now has over 2.7 billion users. However, in recent times, it has focused on payments as it aims on building an online commerce ecosystem.
CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined the importance of the payments business to Facebook in July, stating, “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.”
In his new role, Marcus will now oversee WhatsApp payments, a project that Facebook has been struggling to get off the ground in India and Brazil. The two countries are WhatsApp’s largest markets, with a combined user base of over 450 million.
In Brazil, Facebook has faced regulatory challenges, with Brazilian watchdogs suspending WhatsApp payments in June this year.
Marcus will be working alongside Stephen Kasriel, the former CEO at job listing site Upwork. Kasriel recently joined Facebook as the Vice President of Payments.
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