Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has announced the launch of a Marketplace tab in its app that will be dedicated to buying and selling.

In pre-market trading shares in the social media giant were rising slightly after news of Marketplace broke. The new tab will make peer-to-peer shopping even easier, according to a blog post from the company.

Facebook FB Marketplace

 

Marketplace coming to FB app in certain markets

The Facebook Marketplace tab will sort things on sale from people near you by relevancy, and also let you list your unwanted items for sale. The new feature will be integrated with Facebook Inc (FB) Messenger, which makes negotiating a cinch.

Facebook Marketplace will launch today in markets including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand on mobile. If it proves popular, the feature may be introduced around the world.

While the new feature lets you check out the people you are dealing with thanks to their Facebook Inc (FB) profile, there is no rating system for buyers or sellers. There is also no native payment option, but this encourages payment in person rather than shipping, which can be subject to fraud.

Comparisons have been made with Craigslist, but with extra security thanks to connectivity with Facebook Inc (FB) profiles. “I think the prevalence of Craigslist shows there’s a great need for a local commerce product” said Marketplace product manager Bowen Pan.

Features connect buyers and sellers via FB

Right now the Marketplace is only available to individuals, but that could change. “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 monetize the surface,” said Pan.

Marketplace will replace the Messenger shortcut in Facebook Inc (FB) for iOS. This prominent placement shows that the company is going all in on the feature.

Inside the new tab you can use three features. “Browse To Buy” ranks for sale posts by relevancy based on your profile information, while “Search Your Surroundings” lets users look for items in their local area that are sorted by categories such as Electronics or Household.

If you fancy getting rid of some items, use the “Sell Your Stuff” feature. It lets you create a sales post from your existing account, with a description, photo and an asking price.

No responsibility for fraud

The aim appears to be to get people buying and selling on Facebook Inc (FB) rather than Craigslist. The chances of this happening are boosted by the fact that you can place more trust in someone with a public profile than an anonymous Craigslist account. You may not be able to rate fellow users on Marketplace, but you can get a good idea of whether the transaction will go smoothly by checking their profile.

Another positive for Facebook Inc (FB) is the convenience of its new Marketplace. There is no need to log on to a dedicated site like Craigslist to check listings. Many people spend a long time on Facebook every day, and the Marketplace will be another place for browsing just like the home feed. Communication is also made easy thanks to Messenger.

Marketplace also plays on our thrill seeking behavior. The feature is designed to show photos clearly, with browsing encouraged. It’s a bit like a virtual flea market, with the potential for great bargains drawing people in.

It all sounds like a great idea, but there could be safety and security concerns. While the presence of public profiles is a benefit, there is still scope for abuse. Facebook Inc (FB) says that it will take a range of actions such as removing items or banning specific users if they get reports of bad behavior.

With regard to selling items, it is prohibited to list guns, adult services or any illegal things. At the same time Facebook Inc (FB) absolves itself of responsibility if fraud or any other incident occurs in the course of the transaction. If anything does happen, it’s a matter for the police, not Facebook Inc (FB).

“We see our role as just connecting buyers and sellers” Pan explains.