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article imageFacebook Marketplace is a safer alternative to Craigslist

By James Walker     Oct 3, 2016 in Technology
Facebook has announced a new feature to rival peer-to-peer shopping sites like Craigslist. The social network's Marketplace will launch today in select regions, letting you browse things for sale nearby and arrange to haggle prices or complete a sale.
According to Facebook, over 450 million people visit groups to buy and sell goods each month. It developed Marketplace in response to this, creating a Facebook section dedicated to allowing people to buy and sell from each other. The company wants Marketplace to be a "convenient destination" to browse, buy and sell items with the community around you, helping you trade items online.
Facebook is so confident people will engage with Marketplace it is giving it a tab of its own in the Facebook app. Marketplace will have pride of place in the centre of Facebook's navigation strip, replacing the old link to the Messenger app. With Messenger now operating entirely independently of Facebook, the company has decided to remove the last reference to it from its core app.
Opening the Marketplace will display items that people near to you have listed for sale. You'll be able to filter the results by categories, including popular classifications such as "Household," "Electronics" and "Apparel." Alternatively, you can search directly for goods to buy, or choose to view listings within a certain location radius or price.
When you've found an item to buy, tapping it will take you to a detailed description of the sale. You'll be able to learn more about the product, see high-quality photos and view information on the seller. While you'll be limited to their name, profile picture and general location, it's still more than existing services including Craigslist offer.
Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace
Facebook
Marketplace doesn't feature a built-in payment or delivery mechanism. If you decide you want to buy an item, you have to contact the seller directly with a message and work out the details. That could include paying online or through Messenger itself. Facebook assumes people are happy to negotiate delivery times and expenses in private discussion threads.
Marketplace isn't just about buying. If you want to sell an item, submitting it to Marketplace can be done in just four steps. The process starts by taking a photo of the item to list. You then add a title, description and price before confirming your location and tagging a category. You're then ready to post your sale to Marketplace.
"Today we're introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community," said Facebook. "Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you'll love, and find a new home for the things you're ready part with. We'll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people."
Marketplace has obvious similarities to peer-to-peer shopping sites such as Craigslist. Marketplace product manager Bowen Pan confirmed to TechCrunch that Facebook was inspired by Craigslist's success, saying the "prevalence" of the site "shows there's a great need for a local commerce product."
Facebook is hoping that Marketplace's convenience, just a tap away in an app many people already spend an hour on every day, will allow it to gain a presence in every community. It's also pitching it as safer and easier to use than Craigslist. People have to be over 18 years old to appear on Marketplace. When they do, they're accompanied by their name, profile picture and a map of their surroundings, shifting some of the common concerns associated with Craigslist sellers.
Marketplace launches today in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand on iPhone and Android. Facebook said it will continue to expand Marketplace to additional regions "in the coming months." It also confirmed it is planning to add Marketplace to its main desktop site, allowing people to shop wherever they are.
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