Facebook has apparently discovered that selling people clipart is not exactly a thriving business model, so it’s gotten into the “selling actual, physical objects” game with its new Gifts function.
It’s fairly straightforward, really: You pick a friend, generally by going to their feed or by clicking on their name from Facebook’s Life Events list, pick what you want to send them, pay for it, and you’re done. Currently it’s limited to the U.S.
The brilliant part, which cuts the potentially stalker issue down just a bit, is that you don’t automatically ship the gift to your friend’s address. Instead they get pinged to discover that so-and-so has sent them a gift, and they fill out their shipping address and other relevant information. A nice touch is that you can donate to charity, and make the donation configurable: If they want to throw some cash at the Red Cross or the Boys and Girls Club, it’s up to them.
Aside from the charity donation, the gifts are mostly inoffensive coworker-grade gifts: Cookies, chocolate, wine, gift cards, trinkets.
There is, of course, a downside: This being Facebook, there doesn’t seem to be a way to opt out of it. We poked around the Privacy settings and didn’t even find a mention of Gifts, let alone a setting to turn it off. We imagine that Facebook will be catching some flack for that before too long. But either way, Gifts seems like a good idea to get errands done at least: Somebody you barely know had a kid? Click Gift, send them some cookies, and you’re done.