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Facebook isn’t making money when you shop on Facebook — yet

Mary Ku, the head of Facebook’s commerce efforts, says money comes second.

Mary Ku, head of Facebook’s Marketplace
Becca Farsace

Facebook wants you to shop more on Facebook — and for now, the company says it doesn’t care about making money from the transactions it’s helping facilitate.

"The way Facebook thinks about monetization is, first, did you have a good experience?" said Mary Ku, Facebook’s head of commerce products at the Code Commerce event in Las Vegas Tuesday night. "And then, how can we bring other business into this experience?"

Facebook has tried a bunch of different ways to get people to shop on the site, but it’s never been Facebook’s strength. That hasn’t stopped the social giant from trying, though. Remember Facebook gifts? Or the company’s plan to push into buy buttons?

Now Facebook has another new plan: Marketplace, a Craigslist-style product that lets people buy things from, or sell things to, other Facebook users.

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Ku, who’s been at Facebook for more than three years, is leading the social giant’s commerce efforts, which includes the launch of Marketplace. Before joining Facebook, Ku spent nine years at PayPal, where she wore many hats on the product team over the years.

Facebook has been encouraging businesses to buy ads intended to drive users inside their brick-and-mortar stores, encouraging users to order food or buy movie tickets using their Facebook accounts, and offering small businesses a place to upload their product catalogues online.

And as of now, Facebook isn’t taking a dime. It offers these products for free in hopes that more people will use them.

Eventually, it might be possible — in fact, probable — that this will change. Facebook will certainly use your shopping data — that you searched for a bike on the site’s Marketplace product, for example — to serve you more targeted ads, won’t it?

"We’re not using the data that way right now," Ku said, but added they could use it for personalization.

Ku says that it eventually hopes to make its marketplace suggestions more personal and relevant for each individual user.

"Everyone shops in different ways," Ku said of all Facebook’s shopping products. "The different choices we’re giving people [are] about how they shop."

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