Facebook is shutting down live shopping, its QVC-like livestream feature that lets creators broadcast and sell products to an audience (via TechCrunch). The feature will officially shut down on October 1st, and Facebook says it’s part of the company’s initiative to shift focus to Reels.
“As consumers’ viewing behaviors are shifting to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product,” Facebook explains. Although live shopping’s going away on Facebook, it will still be available on Instagram.
First rolled out in 2018 in Thailand, live shopping opens up another revenue stream for creators on Facebook. It lets influencers host their own live shopping sessions where they can show off and sell a variety of products, whether from their own store or through an affiliate. Facebook rolled out the feature on a wider scale in 2020, around the same time it introduced a dedicated shopping tab. While live shopping remains wildly popular in China, it just doesn’t seem to have taken off in other parts of the world. Even TikTok announced it’s pulling back on live shopping in the US and Europe last month.
But live shopping’s shutdown also demonstrates Facebook’s increasing dedication to its short-form video feature, Reels, which it officially brought to the platform last year. Facebook has even considered making its algorithm more like TikTok, something its parent company, Meta, has already done to Instagram (much to the Kardashians’ discontent). Like Facebook, Instagram has been pushing heavily on short-form content, with all videos on the platform now becoming Reels.
The emphasis on Reels raised concerns among long-time Instagram users who have come to know the app as a way to share photos with friends. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri was met with outrage after flat-out telling users the platform would become video-centric, prompting Instagram to walk back some of its changes.