Launch of Facebook Marketplace faces criticism over illicit goods for sale
Service has yet to launch in Canada, but has already stumbled in its opening
Almost half a billion people already use Facebook to buy and sell things, and the company is going to make that even easier to do with the launch of a new feature.
Dubbed Facebook Marketplace, the feature went live in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand Monday. With the push of a button at the bottom of the home screen, users can post items they have for sale with a brief description, photo and price. The same function allows them to browse items for sale in their community.
The service has yet to launch in Canada, but the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company says more markets will be added "in the coming months."
That isn't the only complaint about the service so far, however. While it's been live for barely a day, users have spotted a slew of items — weapons, live animals, illegal drugs, adult services, and more — which violate the company's terms of service.
Facebook Marketplace is everything I dreamed it would be! <a href="https://t.co/SjEKgaDnmz">pic.twitter.com/SjEKgaDnmz</a>—@Dank_Pal
Facebook blamed a technical glitch for that, and promises safeguards will be tightened.
"Certain posts with content that violated our policies were made visible to people visiting Marketplace," a spokesman for the company said. "We are working to fix the problem and will be closely monitoring our systems to ensure we are properly identifying and removing violations before giving more people access to Marketplace."
Unlike other e-commerce websites, Facebook doesn't take a commission on any sale. Which means sellers and buyers have little recourse to complain to the company if and when a sale goes south.