April 26, 2011, 2:19 PM

Facebook introduces another way for consumers to share

The social network launches an alternative to ‘send to a friend.’

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Facebook Inc. this week launched the Send button in a bid to persuade retailers and other web sites to replace “send to a friend” with the social network’s features. The button is a social plug-in, a single line of code a retailer can add to its e-commerce site to link to Facebook.

The button looks and works similar to Facebook’s Like button. When a consumer clicks the Send button, a pop-up appears and he can send a link to a product or article, along with a short message, to his Facebook friends, Groups or any e-mail address. Facebook Groups are small clusters of friends with common interests or activities that a consumer can join to share information.

If a message is sent to a Facebook friend, the recipient will see the link in Facebook Messages. If it is sent to a group it will appear on the Group’s wall.

 “The Send button can drive meaningful traffic to a site by making it easy for people to send links directly to friends, along with a short message, without leaving a site or going through multiple steps,” says a Facebook spokeswoman. “This type of context and control can result in more targeted communication among friends from the web site, and the sharing of items that people don’t want to broadcast to all of their friends, and may not have shared otherwise.”

The social network says it designed the button to be used alongside the Like button. “By including both on a web site, people will have the ability to broadcast the things they Like and also send it to specific people,” the spokeswoman says.

Among the retailers that have added the button to its sites are 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. and Gilt Groupe.

David Fisch, director of business development at Facebook, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in a session entitled “What e-retailers need to know about Facebook."

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