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Photo: Verishop

Verishop, the luxury e-commerce site created by former Snapchat chief business officer Imran Khan, is launching a social network within its app on Monday, Khan told Axios.

Why it matters: Verishop's aim is to create an online experience akin to a digital shopping mall. To do that, it needs to create a shopping experience that's much more social and curated than what's offered via eBay or Amazon's shopping experiences.

Yes, but: Adding user-generated content to Verishop's curated feed poses some risk.

  • Khan told Axios that the company will filter for potentially misleading or harmful content using both artificial intelligence and human review.
  • Users will be able to report bad content. Content which is flagged by users will automatically be removed once flagged by a user until it is manually reviewed.

Details: Starting Monday, the company will allow brands and users to upload photos and videos of merchandise and lifestyle content, with the idea of creating a social shopping network for people tag products in their posts, share curated collection boards, and follow people and brands that inspire them. 

  • Users will be able to save collections — groups of photos and videos — to their personal shopping profiles and follow influencers and brands that can do the same.
  • Users will receive profile and product recommendations via a "For you" feed. A separate "Following" feed will show brands, influencers and users they chose to follow.

Be smart: Chinese tech giants like Alibaba have pioneered incorporating e-commerce and payments with their their social media and video apps.

  • American tech giants, like Instagram, Facebook and Google are pushing aggressively into shopping amid the pandemic, as more retail business moves virtually.
  • These companies started out by accruing mass user bases, and then later pushed to monetize those loyal users via advertising and now, commerce.
  • Verishop is doing the opposite by launching a shopping marketplace first and a social media experience around it second.

The big picture: The company, which launched in July 2019, has been boosted by the transition to e-commerce during the pandemic.

  • It now houses nearly 1,000 independent and direct-to-consumer brands across all lifestyle categories (home, fashion, beauty, etc.), including household names like Madewell and AllSaints.
  • In July, Axios reported that the company was expected to sell $50 million worth of goods by the year's end.
  • About two-thirds of its shoppers are under the age of 35.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech is outsourcing its hardest content moderation decisions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Faced with the increasingly daunting task of consistent content moderation at scale, Big Tech companies are tossing their hardest decisions to outsiders, hoping to deflect some of the pressure they face for how they govern their platforms.

Why it matters: Every policy change, enforcement action or lack thereof prompts accusations that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making politically motivated decisions to either be too lax or too harsh. Ceding responsibility to others outside the company may be the future of content moderation if it works.

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook developing a tool to help advertisers avoid bad news

Photo Illustration: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook on Friday said it's testing new advertiser "topic exclusion controls" to help address concerns marketers may have that their ads are appearing next to topics in Facebook's News Feed that they consider bad for their brand.  

Why it matters: As Axios has previously noted, the chaotic nature of the modern news cycle and digital advertising landscape has made it nearly impossible for brands to run ads against quality content in an automated fashion without encountering bad content.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

MLB headed for first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is headed for the first management lockout since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.