Facebook's Gunning for GoFundMe With Expanded Fundraising Tool

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Facebook recently shored up its crowdfunding tool to include community donors and sports teams, thereby posing a real challenge to GoFundMe.

The company introduced the tool last March, allowing individuals to donate money for public emergencies, natural disasters, medical bills, education, and funerals. However, that was considered a beta test.

With the latest announcement, users 18 years old and above can make a separate FundMe page where the community can donate. Facebook also expanded the fundraising campaign to include those who need money for sports equipment, for instance, or to build a community garden.

The social media giant will vet each page within 24 hours after they are created to make sure they don't violate community standards and that the fundraising is warranted.

Though Facebook’s tool threatens to eat up GoFundMe's community, the company was quick to assure its users that they are not out to make a profit from charity.

"Facebook’s goal is to create a platform for good that’s sustainable over the long-term, and not to make a profit from our charitable giving tools," a statement from the company said.

In order to compete with GoFundMe, Facebook will charge its users a fee of 6.9% in addition to another 30 cents for each fundraising campaign. This fee supposedly goes to processing, background checks, as well as fraud and security protection. Meanwhile, a slightly higher fee of 7.9% plus 30 cents is charged to GoFundMe users for each donation made.

Facebook has never been shy about copying successful business models introduced by other sites in the hope of inviting more users into creating accounts while keeping their current users from leaving once they're logged in.

For instance, Facebook unveiled its Stories feature, an idea it virtually stole from Snapchat (not to mention the Facebook Poke, which could also be attributed to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel). Earlier, it also launched Facebook Places, which it copied from Foursquare. Then it ripped off Twitter by copying the Hashtag feature.

It's not clear whether Facebook will block any GoFundMe link that makes its way to their site. A fundraising campaign initiated by Manchester Evening News on GoFundMe raised money immediately when it was shared on Facebook.

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