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How Facebook plans to ‘earn people’s trust’ with its Novi digital wallet

In this article:
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David Marcus, Head of F2, joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the features and implications of Facebook's long-awaited Novi digital wallet.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: David, you know that consumers are going to be potentially worried about security and privacy. How do you convince them that Novi will be safe? And also, what are Facebook's plans with using data from payments?

DAVID MARCUS: So I want to be super clear on this. So, no data that will be used in Novi can or will be used for ad targeting or for any purposes around the ad model. And, you know, basically, the way that we've designed this-- and it actually took us a lot of effort to build it the right way-- is that your financial data is not going to be commingled with your social data. And I feel that people really want that and it's an important commitment that we need to make and uphold over a long period of time for people to actually trust this over time.

And I think that, you know, when we look at the use case that we're solving right now and we're focused on, the next best thing is so much worse than, I think, what we'll bring with Novi, that I think, you know, at least for people who need to send money abroad, they'll give us a shot and then with that shot that we plan to honor really, really well. Over time, we plan to earn people's trust so they give us a shot for other things over time. But it'll take time and I'm cognizant of that, and I think that we won't have two opportunities to actually earn people's trust and deserve it. And so we don't plan to miss that opportunity when we get it.

ANDY SERWER: Yeah. I mean, you talked about a trust deficit that you mentioned that the other day. Is that connected to some of Facebook's previous problems, quite frankly, or is that just about this new incipient world of crypto and digital wallets?

DAVID MARCUS: I think it's a little bit of both. I think that it's our scale because we're big, and I think it's important to ensure that things that could scale rapidly-- although I don't think Novi specifically will scale very rapidly, I think it'll take a long time and we can dive into that more if you want. But, you know, it's our scale and I think also a number of questions that emanate, you know, from whether Facebook should or should not enter the space of Financial Services, which is an interesting question because we've been in payments since 2009, and the last 12 months have more or less processed about $100 billion of payment volume for all of the various payments activities that we have-- whether it's person to person payments in messenger, in WhatsApp in Brazil and India, or for donations, or for commerce related activities across our platforms, or to buy ads on Facebook for smaller merchants and advertisers.

So we've been in the payments business for a long time. And so we're already in that industry, and what we're trying to propose here-- while it's more ambitious in terms of rewiring our underlying payments and aging payments infrastructure-- I think is something that, uh, that we can do very, very well and really address the problems that, frankly, haven't been addressed in over 50 years. And I think it's time.