Facebook begins allowing international users to buy Gifts for friends in U.S.

Facebook has started to expand its Gifts product beyond the U.S., according to users in the U.K., India and Canada who say they got access to the service this weekend. However, it seems that international users can only send gifts to their friends who live in the U.S.

Facebook launched Gifts in September 2012 as a way for users to buy physical and digital gifts for their friends via desktop or mobile. The product rolled out to all U.S. users by mid-December, but hadn’t been available in other countries until now.

[Update 4/8/13 6:03 p.m. PT –  Facebook confirms to us that it launched “an update to Gifts that allows people using Facebook in English outside of the U.S. to send Gifts to friends living in the U.S.”]

U.K. reader Matt Navarra sent us this screenshot of his Facebook homepage on Saturday. Inside Network contributer Pete Davison says he saw a similar prompt about Gifts today.

From the Gifts dashboard, users will see a note that they can send gifts to their friends and family in the U.S., Navarra says. Majestic Media Managing Director Mario Zelaya tells us he’s able to access the same dashboard from Canada.

Pravin Jadhav tweeted about Gifts launching in India on Friday. So far, Starbucks gift cards seem to be the only option to send. Like in the U.K. and Canada, Gifts in India can only be sent to users in the U.S., Jadhav tells us.

This expansion increases the potential audience for Facebook’s relatively new monetization channel. So far, Gifts seems to be growing slowly. Facebook made $5 million from non-game payments in Q4 2012, a portion of which came from Gifts, but CFO David Ebersman said that user-promoted posts were the primary source of that revenue. Ebersman said he expected Gifts to continue to represent a small percentage of Facebook’s overall business as the company experiments with the design and functionality of the product. Facebook is due to report its first quarter earnings of this year on May 1.

Allowing users to buy gifts for their friends outside of the U.S. is a greater challenge when it comes to fulfillment and legal issues. In November, the company added a job listing for a customs and trade manager, which could be related to making Gifts available more globally. That position is still listed on Facebook’s careers site. Another job focused on strategic partner development for Gifts is also available.