Monday 11 May 2020 5:00 pm

Facebook and Instagram launch digital gift cards for small businesses

Facebook and Instagram users will now be able to support local businesses during the Covid-19 crisis by purchasing digital gift cards on the social media platforms.

From today businesses will be able to promote gift cards on their Facebook pages and in news feed posts, as well as in Instagram stories and on their profiles.

Read more: Facebook earnings: Shares leap despite lowest growth since 2012

Customers will also be able to search for and discover digital gift cards for a range of small firms, including restaurants, gyms, beauty salons, bookshops and bakeries.

Facebook said it will also expand its rules on fundraising on both its platform and Instagram so that small businesses can drum up direct support from their customers.

“Running a company during Covid-19 is far from ‘business as usual’, and for smaller companies the impact of lockdown has hit hard,” said Steve Hatch, Facebook vice president for northern Europe.

“I hope the additional tools and guidance we are launching today will help these businesses weather this difficult period, and with our gift cards and fundraisers I hope more people can say thank you to their favourite small businesses too.”

The measures mark a new direction in Facebook’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. The tech giant has previously been focused on tackling a surge in disinformation linked to the pandemic that has spread on its platforms.

Read more: Facebook poaches top social media regulator from Ofcom

Facebook also unveiled a new virtual events section where businesses will be able to promote their livestream sessions during the lockdown.

Users will also be able to access a list of recommended local businesses, while restaurants will be able to post food order stickers on Instagram to help drive purchases.

Main image credit: Facebook

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