Facebook's 'Want' Button Could Change Everything

Facebook seems to know that sometimes liking a thing just isn't enough. Sometimes, you WANT things, whether that's a new pair of shoes, the latest Justin Bieber song, or the rough feel of Christian Bale's goatee on the back of your ... um, never mind. Wanting is similar to liking, of course, but if you're Facebook, there's an intriguing difference between the two concepts. One that just might earn the world's biggest social media network some very, very valuable consumer data.

Right now you can like, comment, and share Facebook updates -- but if the rumors are true, you may soon have a fourth option. The question is, do you want a "Want" button?

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The chatter about Facebook's want button started last month when web developer Tom Waddington discovered code for a disabled version of the button in Facebook’s Javascript coding list of social plug-ins. He embedded the code on his personal blog last week, and shared a mockup of what the button might look like:

Facebook want button


So this is pretty interesting, right? The idea of being able to curate wishlist items and share them with friends is something Pinterest is clearly doing well, and it makes perfect sense for Facebook to offer a competing option.

Plus, just THINK of the upper hand this gives Facebook. A want button would theoretically allow e-commerce sites to use the feature without having to build an app, and that's a powerful thing for Facebook to be able to sell. Plus, they'll have a direct line on consumer data in order to sell more targeted advertising. With Facebook releasing its first earnings numbers this week, you know they're working balls-out to be able to monetize every possible opportunity, and users being able to "want" things is a giant step towards becoming the biggest social commerce site on the Internet.

Imagine it: you know what your friends want to buy. Your friends know what you want to buy. Facebook knows what everyone wants to buy. Purchases -- not just purchasing intentions -- become shared. Marketers go crazy trying to figure out how to cash in on all this social influence. Facebook rakes in a boatload of money and pacifies rabid investors. Hello, where's the ka-ching! button?

I don't yet know how to feel about the privacy aspect of a want button, but I have to hand it to Facebook: this is a genius idea. They haven't confirmed it yet (their official party line: "We’re always testing new Platform features, however we have nothing new to announce"), but I'd be surprised if we didn't see this new button publicly rolled out in the next few months.

What do you think? Do you want a "Want" button on Facebook?

Image via DonkeyHotey/Flickr

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