Why the Facebook Messenger Payment Option is Dangerous

The ability to send money to friends via Facebook Messenger is a dangerous bit of mischief. Here’s why.

By now, you’re likely aware of the ability to send money to friends via Facebook Messenger. If you’re not, read this, and know that it’s a dangerous bit of mischief. Here’s why:
The ability to send someone money via Messenger seems scary; something that could happen too simply by mistake. And you likely already have billing info stored for advertising purposes, so what if you click it by mistake and empty your bank account?
Fear not: Even if you butt dial someone a bit of quick cash, you’ll need to input the security code from the back of your credit card before it will go through.
So what’s the worry? Picture it:
It’s 1 a.m. on a Saturday night and you’re sitting in your darkened room, glass of chardonnay-from-a-box in hand thinking about calling that guy with the comb-over from last week’s blind date, and scrolling through your Facebook feed. Feeling pretty pitiful. Feeling like nothing you do can make the world a better place. But wait!
Your best friend from fourth grade has posted a gazillion pics of her cross-eyed kitty Eustace – and you message her to check up on the poor thing. Turns out Eustace has qualified for experimental surgery to correct his cross eyes, but your friend just can’t afford it.
You share a tear. And then you see that little $ sign on your Messenger app and after a few taps, you’re toasting kitty’s new clear-sighted life.
Your refill your glass with “save the world juice” and keep scrolling. A group in the Midwest is trying to save the house where the saltine cracker was invented!? You send a message, tap, enter amount and that house is $100 closer to having a new roof!
You scroll some more. Your sense of purpose is building. What’s this? Jerry from the outback of Oklahoma needs money to pay Dog the Bounty Hunter to rescue his daughter from the satanic, polyamorous cult of nudists on the outskirts of Santa Fe. You send Jerry a message — this is something that you want to hear more about — Satanic nudists… tap…. amount and Dog are both on the way!
The next morning, when you lift your bleary head and wipe the wine drool from the corner of your mouth, you realize with horror that you’ve spent lots of money that you really didn’t have saving the world. True story.
Facebook needs to remove that evil little icon. Stat.
Image by Frederic BISSON.

@MaryCLong maryclong@digitalmediaghost.com Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.