TikTok test automatically identifies products in videos and offers purchase links

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TikTok Shop links could soon become a lot more common across the social media app. Bloomberg reports that the company is testing a new feature that automatically identifies products in the platform’s videos before offering a link to “Find similar items on TikTok Shop.” A spokesperson for the company was not immediately available to respond to The Verge’s request for comment, but it confirmed to Bloomberg that the feature is an early test.

Business Insider previously spotted a test of the same feature last November, and we found videos containing footage of the “find similar items on TikTok Shop” button from September and October last year. TikTok previously confirmed that it was testing the feature with a small number of users in the US and UK. One user who had a product link added to their video was not told that it would be used to promote TikTok Shop.

The latest reports on the experimental feature comes a few months after the TikTok Shop launched in the US which, among other things, allows creators to add links to products from their videos. Currently, Bloomberg notes that influencers and brands need to be approved by TikTok to tag products in videos, but the new feature has the potential to expand product links to all videos, representing a large expansion of TikTok’s e-commerce features as the platform targets $17.5 billion in sales in the US in 2024.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen companies turn to technology in an attempt to automatically identify products and offer links to purchase them. Competing social media platform Pinterest, for example, has a shopping recommendation feature that invites users to “View similar products” on certain posts. Shopping has also been pitched as a key use case for Google Lens and the company’s more recent Circle to Search feature — both help people identify objects like fashion accessories and provide links to buy them.

Bloomberg notes that TikTok has some work to do on the accuracy of its new tool, noting that it served up a gold ring and fake fingernails when used on a video of a woman polishing stones.