In today’s digital age, social apps have become an integral part of our daily lives, connecting us with friends, family, and businesses. With the rise of e-commerce, many social apps have been exploring ways to implement shopping features within their platforms. However, they have encountered numerous challenges along the way. In this article, we will explore the difficulties faced by social apps in implementing shopping and the specific challenges that X, a prominent social app, is currently grappling with.

The Indonesian Government’s Ban on In-Stream Commerce

One major obstacle that social apps are facing in implementing shopping features is the evolving regulatory landscape. This has recently been demonstrated by the Indonesian Government’s decision to ban the sale of goods on social media platforms. The authorities in Indonesia are concerned about predatory pricing on social media and the impact of foreign goods on local businesses. As a result, the government is updating its laws relating to e-commerce, which could make in-stream commerce within social apps illegal. This ban poses a significant challenge for X, as it has been actively pursuing in-stream sales and live-stream promotions in various markets.

X’s Ambitions and the Challenges Ahead

X has ambitious plans to become a hub for all sorts of transactions and interactions, similar to WeChat in China. However, replicating the success of WeChat in Western markets has proven to be a formidable challenge. One of the key reasons for this is the growing distrust of big tech companies and the increasing regulatory requirements. Many regions, including the United States, are becoming more wary of the influence of American tech companies and are hesitant to enable new technologies within their borders.

The Importance of Trust and Security

Another significant challenge for social apps in implementing shopping features is the issue of trust and security. Established e-commerce platforms like eBay and Amazon have built a reputation for providing safe and trusted transactions. Banks also have robust safety checks to combat potential fraud. Social apps, on the other hand, lack the same level of trust among consumers. With existing options already meeting user demands, it becomes harder for social apps to convince users to conduct transactions within their platforms.

Regional Differences in Market Readiness

The challenges faced by social apps in implementing shopping features vary across different regions. Developing regions that lack adequate banking and financial options may benefit from improved digital transaction platforms. However, establishing such platforms is difficult due to regional laws and restrictions. In developed markets, existing financial and payment options are generally sufficient to meet user demands, further diminishing the need for in-app transactions. These regional differences pose a significant hurdle for X and its vision of becoming a comprehensive transaction hub.

The Unique Case of China

In contrast to Western markets, China presents a unique case where social apps have successfully integrated shopping features. The Chinese government is heavily involved in regulating and monitoring business transactions, which has fostered a higher level of trust among users. WeChat, in particular, has become a trusted platform for transactions and is also a key tool for government surveillance and data collection. However, this level of control and trust is not easily replicable in Western regions.

Regulatory Concerns and Skepticism

Regulatory concerns and skepticism from international regulators have also hindered the progress of X’s ambitions. For example, X’s cryptocurrency project faced significant challenges and regulatory roadblocks, limiting its potential for adoption. In Western markets, where traditional banking and financial systems are already well-established, there is little demand for alternative, less secure, and less regulated options. While there may still be value for these alternatives in certain regions, the overall market readiness remains limited.

The Future of Social Apps and Shopping Integration

While X’s ambitions to become a comprehensive transaction hub face significant challenges, the future of social apps and shopping integration is not entirely bleak. As regulatory frameworks evolve and consumer behavior changes, there may be opportunities for social apps to carve out their niche in the e-commerce landscape. However, for social apps to succeed in implementing shopping features, they must address the issues of trust, security, and regional variations in market readiness.


Implementing shopping features within social apps is a complex task that requires navigating regulatory requirements, building trust, and overcoming regional challenges. X, like many other social apps, faces significant hurdles in realizing its vision of becoming a comprehensive transaction hub. While the road ahead may be challenging, it is essential for social apps to adapt and innovate to meet the evolving needs and expectations of users. Only by addressing these challenges can social apps truly integrate shopping features and provide a seamless and trusted experience for users worldwide.