For the second time, Facebook is shuttering a Gifts product.
The first time was back in 2010, when Facebook killed their virtual gifts platform. Two years after that, Facebook Gifts was reborn as a real-life gift exchange, allowing users to buy gifts for their friends and ship them to their doorsteps all within the confines of Facebook.
For a while, Facebook pushed its new ecommerce platform by suggesting users give gifts in a myriad of occasions – when a friend posts something celebratory, on Valentine’s Day (and other holidays), and when someone has a baby – just to name a few. About a year in, Facebook nixed the physical goods aspect of Gifts, transitioning to gift cards and online digital codes only. Slowly, Facebook pretty much stopped promoting Gifts on people’s news feeds – and they faded to the realm of birthday announcements. You can still give someone a gift right now, if you go to their Timeline and fish around for the option.
But that will soon change. Facebook has announced that it will deep-six its Gifts initiative, effective August 12th. Here’s what Facebook’s Gift help page says:
Starting August 12, you’ll no longer be able to send gifts on Facebook. While we’re ending Facebook Gifts, we’re constantly exploring new ways for businesses to sell products on Facebook.
If you’ve received a Facebook digital gift or still have a Facebook Card balance before August 12, you can still redeem your gifts.
“We’ll be using everything we learned from Gifts to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the Web, on mobile and directly on Facebook,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Recode.
What are those “new ways” Facebook speaks of? Well, for one, Facebook is currently testing a “Buy” button inside news feed ads that would allow users to purchase advertised items without ever leaving the world of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has also hinted that Facebook Messenger, which is going through its final unbundling, will get a payments feature at some point in the future.