After the notorious Timeline update to Facebook (News - Alert), most users would prefer that the company leave everything alone for awhile. Facebook is currently in the testing phase for a new feature: the “want” button, the retail equivalent of the “like” button.
The idea of the button is that users will be able to “engage” with collections and share things that they want with their friends, allowing them to click through and buy the items off of Facebook. An ideal application for the “want” button might be making a wish list for one’s birthday to share with family and friends, or, what one can only assume will be the most popular use for the “want” button: a Christmas list.
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Some of the retailers participating in the testing phase of the “want” button include: Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Fab.com, and Smith Optics. Once successful testing of the feature has taken place, all U.S. Facebook users will begin seeing this feature in their interface.
The button seems to serve a two-fold purpose for the social networking site. For Facebook, the “want” button could be a good way to boost their suffering stock prices, which have fallen short of investors’ anticipation. Something as simple as a “want” button is also a good way for the company to try to monetize their mobile site, which they have long professed to be one of their overarching financial goals.
Whether or not Facebook users “want” the “want” button is another matter entirely. Users are wary of this potential new feature, and rightfully so. People have already begun surmising what potential ramifications this will have for privacy and how marketers will start using the “want” button to target consumers. Although the button will help Facebook achieve many of its goals, it will not help them in their ongoing battle against accusations that they do not value the privacy of users.
Edited by Brooke Neuman