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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

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.