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Tiktok throws down challenge to Facebook with US ecommerce plans


TikTok is planning an expansion into the US market by launching its own ecommerce service in a direct challenge to social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).

According to a Financial Times report, the video-sharing social media app, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, has told investors that among a set of new features planned for this year, it will add a tool that lets its more popular users share links to products in return for a commission on any sales.

READ: Apple chief attacks social media as war of words with Facebook intensifies

Another planned feature is also to allows brands to display product catalogues on the platform, as well as livestreamed shopping, a mobile equivalent of TV shopping channels, that will allow users to buy goods by tapping them during a showcase.

TikTok’s plans present a direct challenge to Facebook, which in recent years has also sought to expand into ecommerce both through its Facebook Marketplace feature on its main social network as well as adding features to its Instagram platform that allow users to easily purchase goods.

The app is also targeting improvements to its advertising system, having unveiled a partnership with FTSE 100 ad agency WPP PLC (LON:WPP) at the start of February.

However, TikTok’s regulatory status in the US still remains unclear, with former president Donald Trump having previously threatened to ban the app due to its Chinese ownership. However, it remains to be seen whether the Biden administration will follow suit by taking a hard line against Chinese firms.

Shares in Facebook were down 0.2% at US$267.56 in mid-morning trading in New York on Monday.

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