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Facebook Now Wants to Exploit Birthdays With New “Gifts” Service

fbouly, flickr

Can’t figure out what to get your friends for Christmas? Facebook wants to help with that.

With the holiday season in full swing, Facebook is trying to push its new Gifts service, which will basically turn Facebook into one giant gift suggestion service.

Facebook is already privy to its users’ e-mail addresses, wedding pictures and political beliefs. Now the company is nudging them to share a bit more: credit card numbers and offline addresses.

The nudge comes from a new Facebook service called Gifts. It allows Facebook users — only in the United States for now — to buy presents for their friends on the social network. On offer are items as varied as spices from Dean & DeLuca, pajamas from BabyGap and subscriptions to Hulu Plus, the video service. This week Facebook added iTunes gift cards.

The gift service is part of an aggressive moneymaking push aimed at pleasing Facebook’s investors after the company’s dismal stock market debut. Facebook has stepped up mobile advertising and is starting to customize the marketing messages it shows to users based on their Web browsing outside Facebook.

This is getting ridiculous. Facebook is either trying to be too many things to too many people, or it’s going out of its way to suck money from its users without having to charge a fee to use the site. Either way, it’s just another example of how Facebook has no qualms about selling your personal info to advertisers so they can make a buck. I wonder how much more Facebook users will put up with before they’ve finally had it with the ad-ridden service.

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