TikTok, the video-sharing social networking service owned by China's ByteDance Ltd., expects to offer its U.S. customers new features as it increases its presence there and in a decision that might see it compete more directly with Facebook, Inc.
TikTok told advertisers about new features that concentrate on e-commerce.
The e-commerce push includes a feature that will allow brands to show off products in catalogues, according to sources who have seen the social-media service's 2021 plans.
Another feature will allow video makers to link to any product they like - regardless if the video is sponsored by the brand or not. Automatic commission earnings will come with sales of the linked product.
Finally, TikTok is also expected to present a "livestreamed" shopping feature - similar to television shopping channels where users can place orders on products showcased by popular TikTok influencers.
Industry experts said the new tools would help TikTok in its competition with Facebook, which has made it easier for buyers to purchase goods on Instagram.
TikTok hasn't made any comment.
While TikTok's U.S. plans are encouraging for advertisers, the company has yet to overcome the ghosts of last year that included a threat from former President Donald Trump to ban it.
Last year, Trump reportedly wanted to force TikTok's sale to U.S. investors led by Oracle Corp. Trump said the app was a threat to national security. In the same year the video service more than doubled its sales to $35 billion.
The uncertainty of TikTok's presence in the U.S. remains as the new administration has yet to directly address the matter. Industry analysts said President Joe Biden might be easier to negotiate with if the app ensures user data security.
The regulatory agency said there were many videos on the app that don't contain disclaimers about the risks associated with trading. There were also creators who uploaded videos "promising high-return investments."
In a statement, the company said it would "actively work" to educate the TikTok community about this and added it had removed content that suggested scams or those that promoted unreliable investment schemes.