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  1. ITV Report

Facebook plans to launch digital currency

Facebook intends to launch the currency in early 2020. Credit: PA

Facebook plans to launch a virtual currency as soon as next year, allowing users in a dozen countries to make digital payments through its platform.

Mark Zuckerberg, who founded the social network in 2004, has reportedly met Bank of England governor Mark Carney to discuss the plans.

The multi-billionaire is also thought to have had high level talks with the US treasury and global money transfer firms.

The new currency will be called GlobalCoin. It will go into testing phases later this year, ahead of a roll-out slated for 2020.

Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly met Bank of England officials. Credit: PA

The social network has long been rumoured to be exploring a digital currency, after hiring former PayPal president David Marcus in 2014 to run its Messenger app.

When asked for comment, Facebook repeated previous statements, saying: "Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology.

"This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don't have anything further to share."

The social network is reportedly eyeing up entering the financial market. Credit: PA

The US senate and banking committee has expressed concern about reports of Facebook entering the digital currency business, writing an open letter earlier this month asking for clarity on privacy and consumer protections, and how it handles people's financial information.

Facebook's previous foray into finance closed in 2013 when it shuttered its Facebook Credits scheme which allowed users to buy in-app items through the site.

The new scheme would allow users to buy real items instead of virtual commodities.

The news comes as the social network revealed it has deleted more than 3.3 billion fake accounts between October 2018 and March 2019.

The vast majority were detected automatically, using technology to identify and remove millions of fake accounts within minutes of their creation, the social network said.

The network estimates fake accounts represent about 5% of its monthly active users globally - bringing into question its ability to assess the authenticity of users who would have access to its money transfer systems.