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Nonprofits next to test Facebook payment platform

Four charitable groups--Project Red, Kiva, Toms Shoes, and the World Wildlife Fund--will be selling virtual gifts through Facebook to raise funds.

NEW YORK--Four nonprofit organizations will be participating in a test of Facebook's "credits" platform, marketing and outreach director Randi Zuckerberg said on Friday morning at the Social Good Conference presented by social-media blog Mashable.

"I just received confirmation yesterday that...we're going to be reopening up charity gifts in the Gift Shop," said Zuckerberg (who is, yes, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg). "We are exploring ways for developers to use the Gift Shop to offer...virtual, real, and charity gifts."

This will be rolling out next week with four test partners--Project Red, Kiva, Toms Shoes (which is not a non-profit, but a for-profit retailer that donates a pair of shoes for every pair sold), and the World Wildlife Fund--Zuckerberg said, and pending its success, "we may open to everyone really soon after that."

The blog Inside Facebook reported last week that four online gift and greeting companies--American Greetings Interactive, GreetBeatz, Someecards, and Real Gifts--would be selling virtual gifts in the Facebook gift shop as part of a test of the new "Pay with Facebook" virtual currency.

Facebook first offered "charity gifts" for a 48-hour window to commemorate the milestone of 200 million members. A total of 16 nonprofits and advocacy groups participated in the initiative.

The social network already uses "credits" to sell in-house and branded virtual gifts, a change it made last November (gifts had originally been listed in U.S. dollars). The extension of the system to third-party developers on Facebook's platform has been talked about for quite some time now but finally appears to be nearing a wider launch.