Facebook Testing 'Buy' Button Despite Earlier Promise To Keep Out Of News Feed

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A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013.

Along with “liking” and commenting on posts, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) users will be able to press a “Buy” button when the company embeds the button inside users’ posts and news feeds beginning Thursday.

Whether the project will be as unpopular as the controversial psychology study remains to be seen, but this week’s rollout comes just months after the Menlo Park, Califrornia, company said it would avoid putting a direct purchasing feature on users’ news feed.

The “Buy” button will be placed in the bottom right corner of advertisements that inundate users when they scroll through their news feed. While “Buy” is only a pilot project that will be used for only a fraction of the small and mid-sized businesses on Facebook, the social network also plans to embed the option within the mobile app.

“With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the ‘Buy’ call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook,” the company announced in a blog post.

The announcement is already seen as a direct challenge to Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Facebook has allowed users to make purchases on its site with “Facebook Credits,” a virtual currency that applied only to Facebook, but abandoned the idea in 2012. Since then users have been able to “buy items” in their “favorite games and apps” with Facebook Game Cards.

The “Buy” button comes one month after the Facebook found itself in hot water for changing the algorithm that decides which of their friends’ posts a user sees on their news feed. Nearly 700,000 Facebook users unwittingly had their feeds subverted, either finding that the majority of the posts they saw were positive or negative, rather than the usual mix of both.

 

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