Facebook launched on Monday its new feature “Marketplace,” a tool for connecting potential buyers and sellers in a user’s local area.

Mary Ku, director of Product Management at Facebook, recognized that people use Facebook’s groups extensively to buy and sell products of all kinds, which led to the creation of Marketplace. Users can access Marketplace by tapping the shop icon located at the bottom of the Facebook mobile app. The feature is only available only to those over 18 years old, located in the U.S., U.K, Australia, and New Zealand.

Facebook MarketPlace
Eventually, Marketplace will be also available on Facebook’s browser edition. Image credit: Facebook.

How to use Facebook Marketplace

Marketplace lets Facebook users browse sale offers near their current location. The app provides filters by pricing, item category, and region. When the user finds a suitable product the name of the seller will be displayed on the screen. Users can also save products on a list for further reference and share them on their news feed.

After choosing an item, one can send a direct message to make an offer. Unlike eBay, Facebook will not supervise the delivery or payment of items through Marketplace, which means that users must rely on their own account to avoid being scammed or abused.

This does not apply completely to U.S. users, who can choose to execute a payment through the Facebook mobile pay features. Marketplace resembles Craigslist, where anyone can post a sales ad and be contacted without intermediaries, other than using a Facebook account whose background can be checked to some extent.

Anyone with a Facebook account may choose to sell on Marketplace by posting a photo of the item, labeling it with a name, price, and description, and confirming the location where the sale should take place.

Can I sell drugs on Facebook Marketplace?

According to Facebook’s press officials, police will be notified about offensive or illegal posts that do not adhere to the company’s commerce policies.

The guidelines state that users cannot sell nor publish items such as prescription or illegal drugs, tobacco-related products, dangerous supplements, weapons, ammunition or explosives, animals, adult services, alcohol, betting services, scams or fraudulent businesses, and sexually explicit announcements.

Facebook Marketplace
Facebook will notify police about offensive or illegal posts that do not adhere to the company’s commerce policies. Image credit: @tombornal.

As expected, users are already violating Facebook’s policies by selling weed, animals, and offering adult services on the new feature. Facebook assured that employees will be actively reviewing users complaints to ensure that the content displayed on Marketplace is in place with the site’s policies.

It appears that Marketplace’s intention is not to satisfy buyers, but rather to gather information about people and what they are buying and selling. With data collected by Marketplace, Facebook will have an idea of which products and services their users are looking for.

Users do not know how and why this information will be put to use. They can only wait and see the development of a newer version of the Facebook-boosted Craigslist, as the first version of Marketplace was launched 10 years ago.

Source: Facebook