Facebook is expanding Shops to WhatsApp, because it’s always got to try and sell you something


Welcome to the new capitalist hell-scape. Facebook, arbiter of reality and holder of information (which it then hands over to those with the money for it), has decided that WhatsApp could use a few new features.

Not features that will make communication better, though. That would make far too much sense. No, Facebook is expanding the rollout of Shops to the messaging app, because capitalism demands that you’re always thinking of buying something at every point in time.

Facebook finds new ways to Zuck

Shops, in case you’ve forgotten, are online stores hosted on the social media platform. In a new announcement, the company has said that it’s accelerating its rollout to bring Shops to both WhatsApp and to Marketplace, where people will now find themselves competing with actual companies for attention. That should be entertaining.

How it’ll all work is a little uncertain and we’re not likely to see Shops for WhatsApp here just yet. The introduction of Shops products in Facebook’s Marketplace will only roll out in the US initially, while “select countries” will see the WhatsApp version turn up in their locations first.

In addition, Facebook is launching a new set of Shops-focused ad options for businesses, including the “…ability for businesses to send shoppers to where they are most likely to make a purchase based on their shopping behavior, such as curated products that you might be interested in from a Shop or a business’ website.”

It’ll also be testing so-called visual search on Instagram, letting shoppers (because everyone’s a shopper now) search for similar clothing items based on a single source image. And then, an admittedly cool feature, Facebook is expanding access to augmented reality (AR) so you can see what you might look like wearing some new kit before hitting the ‘Buy Now’ button. So it’s a capitalist hell-scape, but it’s a very technological one. Which is fine, right?


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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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