The New York TimesThe New York Times

TikTok Shopping and the Rise of 'Social Commerce'

By John Herrman

02 Oct 2021 · 9 min read

In three short years, TikTok has grown in the public imagination from an app for dancing teenagers into an all-purpose cultural powerhouse, driving trends in music, food, news and politics, and changing the way people communicate online. In the process, it has also become something else: a place where people buy things. Lots of them.

Social media companies have been chasing the dream of “social commerce” for years, ramping up advertising and nudging their users toward buying and selling in hopes of getting a piece of the internet’s other most profitable business.

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