Facebook introduced a feature called Marketplace for users to buy and sell items, which is already facing problems, with illegal drugs and guns being listed on the first day of launch.
The social media giant said over 450 million people visit its “buy and sell” Groups each month and Marketplace will make this easier to do, although the feature will not facilitate the payment or delivery of items.
Initially, Marketplace will roll out in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand for iOS and Android users and the internet giant plans to “continue expanding to additional countries and make Marketplace available on the desktop version of Facebook in the coming months”.
It also plans to build new options and features into it.
However, on the first day of its launch, it was reported that items including snakes, cannabis, guns and baby hedgehogs were up for sale on the platform.
Facebook said it “encountered a technical issue that prevented our reviewing system from identifying some posts that violated our commerce policies and community standards”.
“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. We apologise for this issue,” it added.
To visit Marketplace, users can tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the core Facebook app, where the Messenger icon used to be, and view photos of items that people nearby have listed for sale. Sellers can be sent direct messages by users who want to make them an offer.
Marketplace product manager Bowen Pan told TechCrunch: “I think the prevalence of Craigslist shows there’s a great need for a local commerce product.”
Facebook will not charge a fee for transactions.
Pan added: “After we’re confident we’ve built out a great product experience for people, we’ll look into introducing businesses if it makes sense, and after that we’ll look at how we could potentially monetise the surface.”
Facebook first introduced a ‘marketplace’ in 2007, where users could list items for sale, as well as housing and jobs. However, it was eventually shuttered.
Last year, it built a “for sale” post option for Groups.