Led by David Marcus, co-creator of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra, Facebook Financial is the social media giant’s latest effort to enhance the company’s payments initiatives.
Facebook has not made an official announcement about Facebook Financial – referred to internally as F2. Reporting at both MarketWatch and Bloomberg suggests that the new unit will also feature Stephane Kasriel as payments vice president. Kasriel comes to the project from Upwork, where he was CEO. Marcus currently runs Novi, a division of Facebook that is developing a digital wallet for Libra, and will continue in that capacity as Novi moves under the F2 umbrella.
“We have a lot of commerce stuff going on across Facebook,” Marcus told Bloomberg earlier this week. “It felt like it was the right thing to do to rationalize the strategy at a company level around all things payments.” Notably, Marcus has significant payments experience, having been PayPal president from 2012-2014.
Facebook Financial will also handle WhatsApp Pay, recently launched in Brazil, and Facebook Pay, the social media platform’s e-commerce payment system. Engadget’s reporting on the conversation surrounding the new division noted that Facebook sees unifying payments on its different platforms as key to boosting value for advertisers and increasing in-app transactions.
The discussion over Facebook Financial comes just a week after the firm announced another e-commerce-friendly initiative: a Commerce Accelerator that will partner with 60 startups from countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to help build out Facebook’s online marketplace.
“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. We can’t achieve this alone,” the company announced in a blog post, “so we are looking for startups to build technology with us.”
Zuckerberg himself has praised the role of payments in Facebook’s future. In a recent earnings call, the Facebook CEO noted 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.”