Facebook discontinues Messenger friends payment feature

Facebook is pulling a feature that allowed users to send money to friends through its Messenger app almost a year and a half after launching it in the UK.

The social network is only discontinuing its peer-to-peer (P2P) service in the UK and France, but will continue to operate in the US for now.

By adding a payment card to their account, Messenger users were able to send and receive money directly from within conversation threads with contacts, encrypted and protected with bank-level security and monitoring by anti-fraud specialists.

The feature was launched in the US in 2015, before landing in the UK in November 2017.

Around 2.7 billion people use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger each month, with two billion using at least one of those apps every day, but it is unclear how many made use of the payment features in Messenger.

“On 15 June 2019, we will discontinue P2P services on Messenger or through Facebook messages for all residents in the UK and France,” Facebook wrote on its support page.

“While you won’t be able to exchange money with friends and family, you’ll still be able to complete other transactions through Facebook, such as making donations to charitable organisations.”

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The social network has alerted those who use the feature of its discontinuation and said they will still be able to make transactions for services, such as charity donations.

Last month, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision to shift the social network more towards private messaging, outlining how encryption and integrated messaging across Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp could work in the future.

As the public becomes more cautious about privacy, Mr Zuckerberg foresees a change in the company’s services, with growing numbers of people turning to closed communication such as private messaging, short-lasting stories that expire within 24 hours and small groups.

A spokesman for Messenger said: “We are terminating the ability to send and receive payments in Messenger in both the UK and France effective June 15.

“After evaluating how we give people the best experiences in Messenger, we made the decision to focus our efforts on experiences that people find most useful. Users have been notified in preparation for this change.”

- Press Association

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