Facebook lets friends send gift cards

Facebook's numbers have taken a beating over the festive season, with a significant decline. (AP)
Facebook's numbers have taken a beating over the festive season, with a significant decline. (AP)
San Francisco - Facebook on Thursday began letting social network members in the US send friends gift cards for purchases at participating shops or restaurants.

The move came as the social network seeks ways to expand how it makes money from its 1.06 billion monthly users, the majority of whom access the social network from smartphones or tablet computers.

Facebook was gradually adding the ability of US members to easily send cards loaded with cash credit at Jamba Juice, Target, Sephora or restaurant chain Olive Garden, according to a blog post.

"Your friend will be notified instantly about your gift, and will receive a Facebook Card in the mail a few days later," Facebook said.

"As soon as it arrives, your friend can use the card at the retailer you've chosen for the amount you've gifted."

Facebook made gift cards reusable, indicating that the California-based company wants them to have homes in people's wallets.

The social network will be adding mobile phone numbers, along with mailing addresses to its massive database with the option of sending real-time balance updates to phones.

Facebook lost ground on Wall Street on Thursday despite fresh quarterly earnings figures showing that it is increasing revenue from mobile with more users now accessing the social network via smartphones and tablets than from personal computers.

Facebook, which highlighted a growing shift to mobile usage, reported a $64m profit in the fourth quarter of last year, while revenue grew 40% to $1.585bn.

But analysts expressed concern about news that Facebook expenses jumped 82% to $1.06bn and will keep rising given the company's plan to hire aggressively and invest heavily in data centres.
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