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Facebook, eBay unveil plans to drive future of commerce

Facebook amps up its social shopping efforts with eBay's 850,000 developers.

eBay Inc. integrates Facebook's Open Graph 2.0 into its commerce platforms
eBay Inc.

Facebook, the world's largest social-networking platform, is tapping eBay's commerce platform to create new social shopping experiences for hundreds of millions of consumers.

Specifically, eBay is integrating Facebook's new Open Graph 2.0 functionality into its global commerce systems, which come under the umbrella of a new business unit called X.commerce, and include eBay, PayPal, and Magento (which has built shopping sites for 100,000 merchants). The news was announced at Innovate, eBay's developer conference, being held today through Friday in San Francisco.

"Facebook is now linked into the largest commerce ecosystem," Matthew Mengerink, vice president and general manager of X.commerce, told CNET. This is noteworthy, in part, he said, because eBay has more than 850,000 developers and more than $60 billion is transacted on eBay annually. And eBay's marketplace has 25 million sellers and 97 million active users globally.

As Facebook's own infrastructure grows and evolves, it's increasingly needing enterprise-level solutions like eBay's to handle the massive media and content-sharing it is planning for its 800 million users. And, of course, sharing at scale, includes commercial transactions such as buying and interacting with major consumer brands, products, and ads.

Recent changes to Facebook's platform mean that users don't have to "like" a song to listen to music or share it with friends anymore. The same will be true for products, Katie Mitic, Facebook's director of platform and mobile marketing, said during her keynote presentation before an audience of 3,000 this morning.

For the first time, eBay's developer community will be able to build social commerce applications on Facebook that allow users to go beyond merely "liking" products. For instance, users will soon be able to "buy," "own," "want," "recommend" or "review" products and share them with friends and family, Mitic explained. "This takes word-of-mouth marketing and puts a bullhorn to it," she said.

What's more, "people are going to be able to tell their product stories," she added. Expect social ads to be weaved out of those user stories, as CNET has reported.

Mitic, who has an MBA from Harvard, was recently named to eBay's board of directors.