Facebook Tests "Buy" Button, Makes It Easier to Never Leave Facebook

Impulse buyers beware: Facebook is testing a button for making purchases right from your news feed. The new button, simply labeled "buy," is only available to a handful of small and medium-sized businesses at the moment, but it's not likely to be limited for long. Keep in mind, this isn't the same as the site's Facebook Gifts function, which allows you to buy gift cards for friends directly from the site (after it politely reminds you that today is your mom's birthday and you should probably get her something). No, this is designed for purely selfish purposes and gives users yet another reason to avoid looking at Facebook after a night out partying.

Right now, the process is pretty straightforward. You see something you like in an ad or on the page of one of the brands you follow. Below the picture of the shiny thing that you absolutely need right now, there's a "buy" button sitting right above the buttons for "like," "comment," and "share" – which I assume you've done already, since you clearly appreciate this thing so much. After you click the new button, a dialogue box pops up, prompting you to disclose your credit-card information and shipping address. And once all is said and done, the payment info is sent to a third party for processing, the vendor gets the order, and you have a shiny new thing on your front porch in no time, provided the UPS guy knows what he's doing.

Merchants aren't charged for the feature, although that could change in the future. And if you're interested in knowing who has the button right now, you're out of luck: Facebook won't tell (although Modify Watches is the brand featured on the announcement post, if you're really excited about this new feature and also need a watch). Otherwise, you'll just have to go about your normal routine until the new feature blesses you with its presence.

Users may be concerned about dispensing their credit-card information to – and even keeping it on file with – our all-seeing social network overlords. But don't worry, said Facebook in a post on Thursday:

We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.

Just make sure they aren't sharing all the other details of your life with their clients.