Facebook developers are dying for a unified payment platform, and all signs are pointing to one coming soon. In the latest news, the site has just released a draft of its proposed new Payments Terms, which will dictate how transactions will be conducted going forward. While the updated terms are in line with Facebook’s recent trend towards using simplified language in its legal documents, the company’s blog post also notes that the new terms will “give us the flexibility to try new features”. This isn’t particularly surprising – there have recently been reports of Facebook planning to begin testing payments some time soon, after months of delays.
Facebook is using the same community commenting process it used during its site-wide Terms of Service fiasco before it officially rolls out the new terms, giving users three days to voice their thoughts on the site’s Governance site.
You can read through the proposed list of rules here (there’s also a FAQ). Most of them are pretty straightforward – Facebook basically says that it licenses all of your virtual goods and credits to you (you don’t own them), and it can do whatever it wants as far as changing the price of credits. It’s also not responsible for anything you buy (aside from ensuring that your Facebook Gifts are delivered), and there are no refunds (though the company says that it may intervene in disputes betwen users concerning payments, but that it is under no obligation to do so). Some of the language refers to transactions between users and third parties, which is indicative of the upcoming payment system.
There are a few interesting tidbits worth looking through. My favorite is this one, which seems to indicate that Facebook can randomly disperse virtual gifts to friends if you fail to use your credits in three years (which could have some potentially hilarious consequences, depending on who receives those virtual bikinis and cans of Coors Light):
3.6 If you leave a balance of credits unused for three years, we may redeem those credits by sending virtual gifts to your Facebook friends or donating the credits to a nonprofit organization of our choice (and charging standard redemption fees for those transactions).