Meta clarifies 'live selling' is still OK on Facebook amid confusion over announcement

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2022 05:21 PM

MANILA - Facebook live sellers don't need to worry: customers can still comment "mine" products on the platform's live streams even after October 1. 

Meta on Monday announced that its "Live Shopping" feature will be discontinued on October 2022, saying that Facebook users "will no longer be able to host any new or scheduled Live Shopping events on Facebook."

But Meta also clarified to ABS-CBN News on Tuesday that the Live Shopping feature was never made available in the Philippines.

Live Shopping on Facebook is a feature where users can upload a "product playlist" of products they want to tag and feature which will flash on-screen when a live stream goes online. 

When users click the products flashed on-screen during the live, they will be redirected to a shop website, product page, or link previously specified on the "product "playlist" by the user hosting the live stream. 

The Live Shopping feature works as a way to put out more products for the audience to see while consuming the primary content in the live stream. 

"You will still be able to use Facebook Live to broadcast live events, but you won’t be able to create product playlists or tag products in your Facebook Live videos," Meta announced in a blog post. 

This comes as a relief to 47-year old Millet Lopez, who has been live selling on Facebook since the pandemic began in 2020.

When Lopez first heard the news that Facebook Live Shopping will be discontinued, she thought that she would no longer be able to do live selling at all. 

"Medyo kinabahan din ako, kaya nag-practice ako na ide-demo kona lang sa video, pini-picture-an ko, tapos by posting na lang ako. [Pero] wala naman ako noon (Facebook Live Shopping feature)," Lopez said. 

(I got nervous, so I started practicing posting individual videos and photo posts instead. But I don't have that feature.)

 

Lopez used to buy and sell "Japan surplus" goods and furniture on Facebook Marketplace but found that live selling helps her sell faster with less effort. 

"Kung bumili ako ngayon, mamayang gabi ila-live ko sial, three days lang, bawi ko na ang puhunan ko," Lopez said. Whatever she doesn't sell in her live, she posts on Marketplace.

(If I buy a stock of surplus today, I can earn back my capital in about three days.)

Surrounded by stoneware and other household items she sells online, Millet Lopez checks some of the bags she bought from a Japan surplus warehouse. She will be cleaning these and then selling them on Facebook. 
Surrounded by stoneware and other household items she sells online, Millet Lopez checks some of the bags she bought from a Japan surplus warehouse. She will be cleaning these and then selling them on Facebook. 

Her husband used to work as an OFW in an offshore oil rig. But because of the pandemic, he was unable to return to work. Her eldest son also lost his BPO job when the lockdowns began. Lopez said her income from live selling helped with expenses. 

"Tiyaga at diskarte lang talaga," Lopez said. 

(You just have to really work hard and be resourceful.)

Filipino live sellers on Facebook make the platform work by asking their audience to comment "mine" on the products shown during the livestream. Audience members who "mine" first on a product get first dibs and are then allowed to transact via direct message for payment methods and delivery details. 

Live selling videos can still be done using Facebook Live, which allows users to broadcast any live event, may it be a personal occasion, a live blog, or live selling. 

However, Meta recommended that enterprising Facebook online businesspeople should also start looking into short-form video. The tech company said it is shifting its focus to its short-form video product Reels on Facebook and Instagram. 

"You can also tag products in Reels on Instagram to enable deeper discovery and consideration. If you have a shop with checkout and want to to host Live Shopping events on Instagram, you can set up Live Shopping on Instagram," Meta said. 

However, Meta has yet to announce if the Live Shopping Feature on Instagram will be made available in the Philippines. 

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