At last, there’s another place to sell items to strangers on the internet.
Facebook debuted a new “Marketplace” for its iOS and Android apps Monday, allowing users to buy and sell items via a new tab at the bottom of their News Feed. Marketplace will let you make offers for items, but no money is directly exchanged on Facebook’s platform.
How it works
It’s pretty straightforward: Hit the new Marketplace tab at the bottom of your screen and you’ll be taken to a page with listings in your area. You can search according to keywords or categories, and you can also broaden your query to include different cities. Once you’ve found something you want, you can message the seller directly or tap into their public profile — the same one they use to interact with friends — to make sure they seem legit.
You’ll have to reach an agreement with the seller about how you complete the transaction. Maybe you pop over to their apartment, pick up the basket of Beanie Babies and Venmo them a few bucks. Or perhaps you settle on a cash-for-cat-toys situation. Facebook doesn’t care how you pay, which makes a lot of sense: In order for people to use Marketplace over an established service, it needs to be easy — no fussing over shipping fees, taxes, linked credit cards and so on.
Marketplace will only work for people ages 18 and up, and it’s only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand for now.
Not automated — yet
While Facebook made headlines earlier this year with the introduction of chat bots — automated assistants that can help you order food and flowers via Messenger — Marketplace it’s a product used for humans by humans.
There are no ads within Marketplace and businesses will not be able to target individuals based on how they use the feature. People will be able to report items that violate Facebook’s terms (no guns allowed) and listings will be monitored by Facebook staff — though the company wouldn’t say if there’s an automated process in place to catch forbidden goods.
A new take on an old concept
Facebook started testing this iteration of Marketplace earlier this year, but the feature actually made its debut in 2007. At the time, users could use Facebook’s desktop version to create their own classified ads. You might recall seeing your friends try to unload their used textbooks at the end of each semester.
Facebook also claims that 450 million people already buy and sell items each month via its online groups.
The social network just wants “to make this easy and accessible”.