Facebook Messenger could become mobile payments hub

29 Mar 2016

Some digging around in the code of Facebook’s Messenger app has apparently shown evidence that Facebook could be working on making the app a hub for mobile payments for goods and services, contrary to previous comments.

While it’s quite normal for apps to prepare for new app features in advance, a discovery by The Information appears to reveal some rather major changes incoming for Facebook’s Messenger app.

From its digging around in the source code of the iPhone version of the app, it said it seems that Facebook wants to allow people to buy goods and services through the app, as well as allowing people to have ‘secret conversations’.

However, what the latter actually entails remains to be seen, with nothing else to go on but the code, but initial suggestions would indicate some form of chat ‘incognito’ from the typical text archive found in the app.

Apparent turnaround

Interestingly, despite the company rolling out a payments service that allows US Messenger users to send money to each other, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has been vocal in the recent past that the company is not looking to get into mobile payments in any considerable way.

“On payments, the basic strategy that we have is to make it,” Zuckerberg said in January, “especially in products like Messenger where the business interaction may be a bit more transactional – to take all the friction out of making the transactions that you need.”

Facebook hasn’t commented on the discovery as of yet, but we could hear something in the near future at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, scheduled to begin on 12 April.

Facebook Messenger app image via Jakraphong Photography/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic