Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Instagram is considering going into e-commerce, The Verge reports, which — if it does — could be the biggest new thing in U.S. online retail.

Why it matters: Instagram ads are advantaged by something Amazon and other retailers don't have — data on what people think is cool.

Instagram declined to comment on the news. But its app would let users browse and buy products from merchants they follow without leaving the platform.

I asked 50 colleagues — almost all in their 20s and 30s and living in cities — if they've ever bought something after seeing an ad on Instagram. Over half — 26 of them — said "yes."

  • They have bought scented candles, clothes, jewelry, makeup, sneakers and watches.
  • Several who said "no'" told me that, even though they did not buy anything right away, they sometimes purchased something later.
  • One colleague said he goes to Amazon for laundry detergent and other basics. But the targeted ads he gets on Instagram — for skate shoes and surfing products — are based off of the accounts he follows.

The bigger picture: Social commerce is the next big e-commerce disrupter, says Axios' Sara Fischer.

  • Alibaba, China'e e-commerce titan, is already incorporating social experiences to its Taobao platform, offering the chance to message and video chat with merchants and other consumers.
  • Amazon has launched Spark, a social media app.

Go deeper

Facebook's latest headache: Its own employees' posts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook’s rules for what people can say on the world’s largest social network have been a long-term headache for the company, but now it faces similar troubles on the internal network its own staff uses.

Driving the news: As political arguments on Facebook’s employee discussion boards have grown more heated and divisive, the company ordered new restrictions on the forums earlier this month, which run on Facebook’s Workplace platform.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

How a conservative Supreme Court would impact climate policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amy Coney Barrett's likely ascension to the Supreme Court would affect climate policy beyond shoving the court rightward in the abstract.

Why it matters: If Joe Biden wins the presidential election, his regulations and potential new climate laws would face litigation that could reach the high court.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 33,138,963 — Total deaths: 998,380 — Total recoveries: 22,953,639Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 7,116,455 — Total deaths: 204,762 — Total recoveries: 2,766,280 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week
  4. Health: The childless vaccine — Why kids get less severe coronavirus infections.
  5. World: India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases