Facebook is discontinuing live shopping, a service that allows artists to broadcast and sell goods to an audience in a manner similar to QVC (via TechCrunch). According to Facebook, the function will be formally discontinued on October 1 as part of the company’s attempt to move attention to Reels.
Facebook notes that it is concentrating on Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product, “since customers’ viewing patterns are moving to short-form video.” Live shopping will no longer be an option on Facebook, but it will remain on Instagram.
Live shopping gives Facebook developers access to a new source of income when it was first introduced in Thailand in 2018. Influencers may showcase and sell a range of items during their own live shopping events, either from their own store or through an affiliate. In 2020, around the time it unveiled a specific shopping tab, Facebook expanded the feature’s availability. Live shopping is still quite popular in China, but it doesn’t appear to have caught on elsewhere in the world. Even TikTok stated last month that it was curtailing live shopping in the US and Europe.
The demise of live shopping, however, also reveals Facebook’s growing commitment to Reels, a feature for short-form video that it formally introduced to the site last year. To the chagrin of the Kardashians, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has already changed Instagram’s algorithm to make it more similar to TikTok. Instagram has been strongly promoting short-form content, much like Facebook, with all videos on the network now being Reels.
Long-time Instagram users who have grown to know the program as a method to share images with friends expressed worry over the emphasis on Reels. After blatantly informing users that the site will become video-centric, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri was met with anger, which forced Instagram to roll back some of its modifications.