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Facebook debuts payment system, taking on Venmo

Illustration of a coin with Mark Zuckerberg's face on it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook on Tuesday announced Facebook Pay, an online payment system that will allow users across its services to send payments to one another. The new product, separate from its Libra cryptocurrency effort, puts the social network giant in competition with Venmo and others.

Why it matters: Once again, Facebook will be asking users to hand over more sensitive information when it is under fire for how it manages the information and access it already has.

Between the lines: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at F8 last year that the company wasn't going to slow down on developing new products even as it works to restore trust.

  • Since then, the company has announced plans for its own cryptocurrency and launched Portal, which puts a camera and microphone inside users' home.

Details: Facebook said it will roll out Facebook Pay on Facebook and Messenger this week in the U.S. for "fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger" as well as some businesses on Facebook Marketplace. The service will later expand to WhatsApp and Instagram, the company said.

What they're saying: "People already use payments across our apps to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other," Facebook VP Deborah Liu said in a blog post. "Facebook Pay will make these transactions easier while continuing to ensure your payment information is secure and protected."

Our thought bubble: The move comes shortly after Venmo owner PayPal backed out of the consortium backing Libra.