Facebook: Now Liking Booze

By McCarton Ackerman 11/16/12

A new feature will allow social networkers to send each other bottles of wine. 

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Here's one Facebook notice likely to be more popular than the millionth request to join FarmVille: users of the social networking site will soon be able to send each other bottles of wine through a new "Gifts" feature. Two winemakers, Robert Mondavi Winery and Chandon, have signed on as partners. Sober Facebook users will be able to join in the giving: other major brands that have signed on include Brookstone, Baby Gap and Pandora. Facebook was able to maneuver past the often tricky process of selling booze online because “we aren’t the merchant of record,” says Lee Linden, who heads up Gifts. "In effect, we're acting as a marketing agent." For each transaction, a third-party service must verify that both buyer and seller are over 21. If the recipient lives in a state that prohibits online alcohol sales, they'll be given the option to choose a different gift. And residents of Colorado and Washington shouldn't expect to be able to gift each other a half-ounce of weed any time soon. Linden says Facebook will only include products seen as universally acceptable: "I don't think we're going to be offering cigarettes."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.