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September 27, 2012

Facebook gives the gift of giving

Facebook launches new service that allows members to buy real gifts for friends.

By Tineka Smith

Facebook’s virtual gifts have been popular amongst users and the social network hopes the new service can be a money maker.

Gifts can be sent from birthday reminders or from a friend’s timeline.

"Every day, millions of people share special moments with their friends on Facebook by saying "Happy Birthday," "Congratulations," or simply, "I’m thinking of you," said Facebook in a blog post. "Now there is another way to celebrate those moments."

Users can choose a gift as well as a card to send to friends on Facebook. The gift will post on the friend’s timeline or can be sent privately. Members that are sent gifts can unwrap them virtually before receiving the real gift at their address.

Facebook Gifts

Facebook also gives the option of paying right away or later as well as letting gift receivers exchange for something else.

The Facebook Gifts service will roll out gradually but will available to U.S. members first.

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The new service comes as Facebook currently faces pressure from investors to make money. Facebook gifts could give the company a boost in its struggle to monetise its mobile platform.

The company reported a net loss of $157m in the second quarter compared to a net income of $240m in the same quarter a year ago.

The company’s second quarter loss was largely affected by share based compensation expenses for employees in the wake of its IPO, which totalled $1.3bn.

Facebook’s revenue growth was the slowest since its first quarter in 2011. The social network’s revenue was up by 32% totalling $1.18bn compared to $895m in the second quarter of 2011.

Mobile has been a primary rough spot for Facebook as the company’s expenses increase in its attempts to solidify its mobile standing.

The company invested in several new mobile products this year including a new Facebook Camera app for the iPhone after purchasing Instagram for a hefty £1bn and a new version of its mobile messenger app for iOS and Android. Facebook also launched its global application centre and plans for Facebook integration with the new version of Apple’s iOS and OSX.

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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