Facebook, which hired PayPal president David Marcus to run its Messenger business last month, has shed some light on how Marcus' expertise will play a role.

"On Messenger and David … he is just a real talented product generalist and he's done a number of different things, including in his past, he ran and built a messaging company," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a July 23 earnings call. "Messenger will have, over time, there will be some overlap between that and payments …  the payments piece will be a part of what will help drive the overall success and help people share with each other and interact with businesses."

But this is a long-term goal, Zuckerberg emphasized. "I really can't underscore this enough that we have a lot of work to do and we could take the cheap and easy approach and just try to put ads in or do payments and make some money in the short term, but we're not going to do that," he said.

Facebook also recently added a "buy" button in a U.S.-only test, but emphasized that it does not view itself as becoming an eBay-like marketplace.

"We still basically view ourselves as a partner to other companies in the payments space, rather than trying to compete directly for that," Zuckerberg said. "Our main business is advertising, and I think we're mostly, to the extent that we do payments, it's going to be supportive to that."

The rival social media site Twitter is also piecing together its payment strategy. Last year, Twitter hired a commerce chief and this month it announced the acquisition of the payments company CardSpring.

EBay, which owns PayPal, has not begun actively searching for a replacement for Marcus. EBay CEO John Donahoe said during his own company's earnings call that he is spending the first month following Marcus' departure working with the remaining PayPal team on execution.

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