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Facebook launches standalone Events app; push for ticketing & payments?

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Facebook users can now discover, search, host, and keep track of events using the newly launched ‘Events from Facebook’ mobile app. The app is aimed at users who primarily depend on Facebook to look up for events or those who are simply “passionate about keeping up with nearby events”. The company says that, more than 100 million such users use its Events platform daily.

The app is initially available for iOS users in the US, and will soon be released on Android sooner. We have written to Facebook asking if this would be launched in India anytime soon.

Features

Whenever a user opens the Events app, he/she will have a timeline feed containing new events that friends are interested in, recently-announced events by Pages liked by a user, and updates from events that the user already is connected to. The app will also help users to search for events and discover nearby events via a recommendations engine. For recommendations, Facebook will consider a user’s location, and other interests. Users can also look for events in other cities, and discover them using a map-view.

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In addition, users will be able to keep a track of all upcoming events via a built in calendar. A user can also choose to import an existing calendar into the Events app, so that he/she can make sure that an upcoming event (listed on Facebook) does not clash with his/her schedule.

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“The actions you take on events in the app will also be visible and available on Facebook. This way, your friends can see what you’re interested in and what events you’ve shared with them, even if they don’t have the app,” added Facebook’s Product Manager Aditya Koolwal in a post.

Competition

Facebook’s events app could pose a competition to a number of event discovery or aggregator portals. For example: in India, Nearify is one such portal that works by aggregating information about events including music festivals, parties, shows, workshops etc. from the web and making it available to its users via an app. Similar models include Eventbrite which focuses on small and medium events and MeraEvents’ “event-networking platform” MoozUp.

Push for payments and ticketing: But more importantly, Facebook could also be targeting event booking and ticketing and further push to compete with player like BookMyShow, Explara, etc. in India. The Facebook Events app can do this into 2 ways:

i) Allow event organizers to list events and additionally allow them to setup a ticketing/booking feature within the Events platform. For this Facebook will have to tie up with payment gateways to process user payments.
ii) Tying up with even booking portals like BookMyShow, Explara, etc. to list and integrate their event’s booking widget or window and help users complete payments within the Events app, in case the same event is listed on Facebook by the organizer.

Note that Facebook earlier introduced money transfers and payments over Messenger in March last year and had partnered with Strip, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and PayPal for the same. It also allows businesses to accept payments via Messenger without redirecting users to an external platform.

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