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Facebook may soon test a ‘red envelope’ payments feature and a new ‘breaking news’ tag for stories

A few new Facebook features are potentially on the way.

Hundreds of red envelopes on display at a China Town market in Singapore Thye Gn / Getty

Facebook, which is constantly testing new products and features, seems to be gearing up for a few new experiments. These include a “red envelope” feature that might let users send money to others on the service and a “breaking news” tag that publishers can attach to their posts.

The two new features, which aren’t officially being tested yet, were first spotted by Matt Navarra, director of social media at the online publication The Next Web. Navarra, who routinely tweets about unreleased products and features he finds in Facebook’s code or through other means, shared screenshots of the features to his Twitter account yesterday.

Facebook confirmed to Recode that the breaking news tag is for a “future test,” but declined to share more details. The company was a little more vague about the red envelope feature, though did not deny it exists. A rep simply offered that Facebook is “always testing new product experiences but there’s nothing specific to talk about at this time.”

Without a formal test running, it’s hard to understand what a “breaking news” tag might do for publishers, though it’s possible adding a tag like that to a post could temporarily push stories higher into users’ feeds, generate some sort of alert or notification, or at least help them stand out visually.

The red envelope feature is also interesting. Red envelopes are typically used for gift giving, especially for holidays like Chinese New Year, but the ability to gift someone money on Facebook would mean Facebook could also facilitate peer-to-peer payments. The company already offers payments like this in Messenger, but not on Facebook’s main website or app.

Supporting payments makes some sense considering Facebook’s new Marketplace section. The company is encouraging people to sell items through Marketplace in the same way they might on Craigslist. Allowing people to actually pay for a purchase on Facebook would also make sense.

It’s also possible that these features will never be rolled out.

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