04/10/2016
Enter the Marketplace.

Words by

Anastasia McInerney

Gone are the days of Facebook buy-and-sell groups. Instead, the platform has introduced a new tool to sell your unwanted goodies and snag some new items. 

The new in-app trading feature is called Marketplace and it allows you to easily buy and sell goods through Facebook on your iPhone or Android. 

Where Facebook buy-and-sell groups were governed by rules as to what could/couldn’t be sold on each group page, Marketplace listings are posted by individual users. This allows items to be viewed, sold and bought by anyone, anywhere.

It's already been deemed the ‘new eBay’ by The Sydney Morning Herald and a ‘friendlier Craigslist’ by TechCrunch. 

Here’s how it works. 

The process of selling goods is super easy. Upload a photo of the item you’re selling and enter a product name, description and price. Once you’ve confirmed your location and selected a category, your listing is ready to post. 

Listings are location-based and allow you to search your area for items of interest. Think of it as Tinder for your once-loved wardrobe. You can filter search results by location, category or price, and have images of items from anywhere in the world laid out on-screen. 

Once you’ve found that denim jacket you’ve been dying to embellish with an iron-on unicorn, you simply send the seller a direct message telling them you’d like to make an offer. From there it’s all up to you to organise a meetup and payment. 

Facebook promotes in-person meetups, Tinder-style, rather than payments online, hence the location-based feature. Though a Tinder date where you bring your old bookshelf seems a little awks to us.

Unlike other trading websites with anonymous sellers, you can have a stalk of who you’re purchasing from. While a peer-to-peer shopping platform is usually candy for fraudsters, it’s a little tougher to scam through Facebook profiles. Fake accounts would need to have a large number of friends and a well-curated profile to pass.

However, while this seems all well and good, past incidents with Facebook trade groups indicate otherwise. Similar to buy-and-sell groups, 

the new platform does “not facilitate the payment or delivery of items in Marketplace.” With individuals left to negotiate their own purchase terms, inexperienced buyers and sellers are often left vulnerable.

Additionally, while you might be searching for a new coffee table to deck out your living room, others are selling some more questionable goods. Unlike previous Facebook trade groups, there are no admins to control what gets posted. 

Exotic snakes, drugs and adult services have already been posted on the app, which raises concerns over Marketplace’s management. 

Marketplace is currently available for users over 18 years old in Australia, USA, UK and New Zealand, with a desktop version set to come.

fb.com

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