Facebook Donate Button
On December 16th 2013, Facebook released the “Donate Now” button. The Facebook Donate Button aims to make it far easier for non-profit organisations and charities to receive donations through the social media platform. Despite the Facebook Donate Button’s overtly charitable objectives, sceptics are worried about the covert undertones. The scepticism stems from the fact that the Facebook Donate Button will potentially allow the site to gather credit card and billing information, which they warn the platform could use to support its e-commerce and gaming outlets.
To accompany the launch of the Facebook Donate Button, 13 non-profit organisations began to display the button on their Facebook Pages. The Facebook Donate Button was placed in two locations on their pages, at the top and also at the bottom of their News Feed posts. The initial 19 groups included, UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, Red Cross and KIVA among others. Facebook announced that after testing they intended to make the Facebook Donate Button available to all non-profit organisations, who can register for consideration by clicking here.
The Facebook Donate Button allows users to make financial donations to these non-profit organisations without having to leave the platform. When making a donation, users are able to select the amount they want to donate. Then they can pay by either entering their payment details or using information already stored on Facebook. It is hoped that the Facebook Donate Button will provide an increase in conversion rates, providing an increase in much needed finances for these causes.
In addition to the above, the Donate button makes it easier for users to share the charitable call to action with their friends. As a result charities could go viral in the future. Furthermore, donating through Facebook is streamlined, the platform revealed that they are not charging the non-profit organisations a fee to process the credit card donations. Instead Facebook is paying this fee, this means that 100% of the donated money goes directly into the coffers of the non-profit organisation.
Whilst Facebook appears to be genuinely passionate about helping the causes of non-profit organisations, the Facebook Donate Button is also likely to help their cause. Facebook has already shown support for Internet.org, a web based group which promotes internet accessibility for the developing world.
Sceptics worry that users may decline to donate due to the difficulty of removing their credit card information from the platform. Currently, in order to do this, users have to go to their payment account settings and manually remove credit card details from those listed. The scepticism surrounding Facebook’s motives is what has been labelled as the “credit card race”. The race is essentially an effort by various e-commerce entities to collect the largest number of credit card details. Currently, Facebook is lagging in this race, behind the likes of cyber behemoths such as Google and Apple, with the clear cut leader of the race being Amazon. Not having user’s credit card information on file limits the potential of users buying virtual wares through Facebook games and from purchasing the Facebook Gift Cards for their friends. Sceptics of the Donate button fear that the moral incentive to donate to worthy causes is a subtle form of mugging by Facebook, persuading users to part with their credit card information or connecting via a third party billing service such as PayPal.
The scepticism largely stems from the fact that having access to a greater amount of credit card information will strengthen Facebook’s latest e-commerce efforts, Autofill with Facebook. This system enables third party mobile apps to integrate a button in the online checkout, which enables users to fill in their details quickly with the click of a button by pulling the information from Facebook.