As if the introduction of the brand new and separate Facebook Messenger App didn’t cause enough upset, now Facebook want you to make payments to your friends using it.
The new feature, being rolled out in the US this week, allows you to send payments easily to people on your friends list, just start a conversation with them, tap the $ sign, enter the amount and click Pay. (First time users will obviously have to add their debit card information first, which can then be optionally saved for future payments.) The recipient friends will also have to enable the feature to receive the payment.
It’s a move likely to irk plenty of users given Facebook’s reputation with privacy, but Facebook have been quick to point out that they already have an established secure payment system in place and use it to process millions of transactions daily through their gaming app and sponsored ad features.
To be fair to Facebook, despite many companies failing to keep their customers sensitive information secure (cough… Sony) Facebook have managed to keep their information comparatively safe. And whilst Facebook seem keen on sharing practically everything they know about you with third party advertising companies, this doesn’t include your credit card details.
In this case the bigger security threat is going to be a user’s ability to keep their own account safe. Thousands of accounts are compromised because account owners fall victim to a variety of scams including phishing attacks, malware infections or any number of social engineering tricks. These are all designed to fool a user into handing over their login information, giving a criminal access to their Facebook account.
And if that did happen, the criminal would not only have access to a wealth of personal information about you, but could also take charge of your bank account, sending out payments to anyone on your contact list (including people they accept as friends) who has the payment option enabled as well.
Well luckily Facebook have also taken that into account, introducing an optional PIN feature (should be mandatory, hopefully that will be revised soon) that allows users to have to enter a PIN number before any transaction can be made, much like an ATM machine.
And of course all users should have two factor authentication enabled if you care about your Facebook account, meaning no one can access your account on an unrecognised device unless they enter a PIN number sent to your phone via SMS.
Still, despite Facebook’s assurances, many users aren’t exactly going to be flocking to the idea of handing over their payment information. What do you think? Would you use the feature? Let us know below.