Removal of Facebook ‘live shopping’ feature bothers Cagayan de Oro online live sellers

Published August 9, 2022, 6:36 PM

by Franck Dick Rosete

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A Facebook announcement that it will remove the ‘live shopping feature’ has caused some anxiety on small businesses relying on the feature for their livelihood here.

In an online post from Upmesh-Philippines Facebook page, a live commerce system, it clarified that the live shopping feature that will be removed by Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, will only affect the users in the United States of America.

“If you’ve seen this news about Facebook shutting down its Live Shopping feature in October, don’t panic! This feature was only available to users in the US and not in Southeast Asia,” the online post said.

“What we’ve been using is the Live Videos feature, where we not only make sales, but also entertain and make connections,” the online post added.

Based on Meta’s live shopping tutorial on Youtube, the live shopping feature on Facebook allows users to create a product playlist and the ‘Add to cart’ and ‘Product details’ buttons can be seen during the live video.

This is the feature that Facebook will remove starting October 1.

“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,” said Meta.

The said feature is also different from the way Filipinos do their live selling where they only use the ‘Live Video’ feature on Facebook and use the ‘mine’ system in the comment section in buying items.

The buyers would only comment the word ‘mine,’ alongside with the product description provided by the seller, if they want to buy the items that have been flexed by the live seller during the video.

According to Meta, Facebook as well as Instagram will be focusing on Reels, a short-form video product of Meta, as the consumers’ viewing behavior is shifting to the said type of video.

“If you want to reach and engage people through video, try experimenting with Reels and Reels ads on Facebook and Instagram. You can also tag products in Reels on Instagram to enable deeper discovery and consideration,” the Meta added

Still, a lot of online business operators here felt the threat on their livelihood after that Meta announcement.

When the information was circulated in the social media, some of the Kagay-anon live sellers have expressed their concerns as doing live selling has been their main source of living, especially amid the ongoing threat of Covid-19.

Meta Platforms Inc. has recently announced the upcoming removal of ‘live shopping events’ feature on Facebook starting on the first day of October.

Meta, however, clarified that Facebook can still be used for broadcasting live events but users can no longer create product playlists or tag products in the live video.

“Beginning on October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to host any new or scheduled Live Shopping events on Facebook. 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 said through their business help center.

Online sellers, worker concerns

Sarah Fatima Vallar also known as Madam Kolera, a known online seller here with over 51k followers on Facebook and over 230k followers on Tiktok, stressed that removing the live selling opportunity would have a huge impact on her business.

“Of course. Dako siyag (It has a huge) impact sa ko (to my) business kay (because) so far maayo ang kita sa akong pag (I have a better income when it comes to) live selling,” Vallar told Manila Bulletin.

Meanwhile, Carmela Bartolaba, a 19-year-old live seller from Barangay Carmen who sells bags and wallets, felt sad about the news and stressed how she needs the live selling business to support their financial needs, especially now that she is pregnant.

“Feel sad kay imbis mao rana akong panginabuhi para maka tabang unta sa akong pamilya ug usa pa, pregnant ko. Dakong tabang pud sa akoa ang online selling kay dha ko naka income nga makapalit me sa among panginahanglanon,” she said.

(That [live selling] is the only source of income we have so that I can help my family and aside from that, I am pregnant. Online selling is also a big help because that’s where I can make income so that we could buy our needs.)

Apart from online sellers, a worker from a local shop here that also sells products through Facebook live, also expressed concern about the recent announcement of Facebook.

Jehaziel Jane Florano, a customer service representative of a local clothing shop here, said she is worried about the possibility of losing her job as the removal of live selling could probably affect the sales of their shop.

“Gabalaka ko kay basin mugamay among sales ug basin magtang-tang og trabahante (I am worried because our sales may decrease and maybe they [the shop] would reduce their workers),” Florano said.

She couldn’t provide an estimated amount, however, Florano said that their sales from live selling are better compared to their sales in their physical store situated at one of the malls in this city.

“Mas dako gyud ang sa online kay mas dako man gyud ang scope. Nationwide baya me ug gagasto gyud ang tag-iya alang sa advertisement (The sales are better online because we have a bigger scope. We ship nationwide and the owner also spends money for the advertisement),” she said.