Facebook to expand Shops to WhatsApp and its Marketplace in a new social commerce push

Currently, the company said it has about 1.2 million monthly active shops on its platform. It's not clear when the feature will roll out in Latin America

A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Facebook is expanding its “Shops” feature to messaging app WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace, the company said on Tuesday as it announced changes to its commerce tools. However, it’s not clear when the feature will roll out or where, including Latin America.

Speaking in a live audio room on Facebook, the company’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said it would also introduce personalized ads in this shopping service.

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The social media giant, which launched Shops last year as a way for people to find and buy products on Facebook and Instagram as part of its push into e-commerce, said it has about 1.2 million monthly active shops on the platform.

The company said it would in the coming months launch an artificial intelligence tool called ‘Visual Search’ so users shopping on its photo-sharing site Instagram can click on items and find similar products in Shops. It is doing this by expanding GrokNet, the company’s product recognition system, to new applications.

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According to Facebook, GrokNet identifies what products are in an image and predicts their categories, like sofa, and attributes, like color and style. Users will be able to use this search form content on the app or on photos on their own camera rolls, Zuckerberg said.

“Facebook AI is building the world’s largest shoppable social media platform, where billions of items can be bought and sold in one place,” said the company. Facebook is also working on using augmented reality so that shoppers can virtually try on items, including the ones from ads, Zuckerberg said.

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