Facebook Gives Gifts, Takes Away Vote
The day before being added to the Nasdaq 100 index, Facebook announced two very different pieces of news on Tuesday--it's taking away users' votes on how the company shares data and it's expanding its gift tool.
Giving the Gift of Gifts to All Facebook's U.S. Users
First, the social media giant quietly announced that it is rolling out "Gifts"—the tool for users to give both physical presents and virtual goods—to all its U.S. users.
After two months of testing with tens of millions of people, it's now offering options from 100 different partners, just in time for the holidays. Users can send friends items like a teddy bear, socks, and a Starbucks gift card. There are also digital options, like iTunes gift cards, or subscriptions to Hulu, Pandora, and Radio. (Read More: Facebook Moves Into E-Commerce, Tests Facebook Gifts.)
Perhaps most importantly, Facebook is now offering wine and champagne. And Facebook is making sure it's doing this category right—it's partnered with 16 different wine makers. (Yes, Facebook has all sorts of restrictions to make sure it's not sending alcohol to minors. And even if a kid figures out how to get around the rules, whoever receives the package at the door needs to show ID).
What's it worth?
"We see the Gifts feature as the stepping-stone to abroader, formidable e-commerce platform on Facebook," Topeka Capital Markets analyst Victor Anthony said. "In 2014, we estimate that FB could generate approximately $800 million in incremental revenues and $330 million in incremental EBITDA from e-commerce."
(Read More: Facebook's New Plan to Grow Revenue.)
Next year will be a key one for Facebook to lay the groundwork—that means partnerships with a wider variety of brands and retailers, and a consistent, easy user interface.
Taking Away Facebook Users' Vote
Facebook also announced on Tuesday that users will no longer be able to vote on how the company can share personal data, thanks to the lack of response to its recent site governance vote.
The vote drew nearly 700,000 responses. Of those, 588,803 opposed Facebook's proposed changes, which included taking away users' right to vote. Nearly 80,000 people supported the changes.
That's just a fraction of 1 percent of Facebook's one billion users. A vote of 30 percent was required for the results to be binding.
(Read More: Nasdaq 100 to Friend Facebook. Should You?)
As a result the company will go forward with its plan to look for feedback through other means—comments, open forums.
Perhaps most importantly, Facebook can share data between Instagram, which it owns, and its core network.
What does that mean? We'll see ads on Instagram, targeted based on data from Facebook. This should be no surprise—isn't that why Facebook bought Instagram? And when Facebook eventually launches those ads, it should provide a meaningful boost to its bottom line, considering Instagram's ongoing growth.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin; Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin