eBay rival Facebook Marketplace has drugs, guns and animals for sale

Facebook launched a new feature called Marketplace on Monday, which is an online shop that allows users to buy and sell items with others in the community from inside the social network’s app. Designed to put pressure on existing internet traders such as eBay and Gumtree, users can sell anything from old clothes to houses through their Facebook account.

However, the social networking giant was forced to apologise after guns, drugs and sex were found to be for sale on its new “marketplace”.

In the first hours of its opening, users succeeded to exploit a “technical issue” in the store to sell illicit goods from animals to weapons.

The company apologised after finding out the flaw that allowed some users to post adult and illegal items that violate Facebook’s terms of service. Facebook said it would fix the bug that had stopped its filtering system from working.

“As a result [of a technical issue in the reviewing system], certain posts with content that violated our policies were made visible to people visiting Marketplace,” said Mary Ku, director of product management at Facebook. “We apologise for this issue.”

Facebook said it is working on a fix and will be “closely monitoring” the service manually to find and remove posts that encroach upon its terms before Marketplace is available to more users.

The news comes after security experts issued warning to its users on Marketplace, which doesn’t have a secure payments system or user rating system like eBay and Amazon.

“It’s not like Uber where there’s registered people, it is up to users to see if someone is fake,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “It’s also easy to post a picture of something and charge money for something even if the real goods don’t exist, or they are stolen.”

Facebook Marketplace manager Bowen Pan said the company created the online trading feature in response to users setting up trading groups on its network.

“There are more than 450 million people who visit buy-and-sell groups each month,” he said.

“That’s a quarter of people who visit Facebook.”

Facebook Marketplace has been rolled out to its Google Android and Apple iOS apps in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and UK. Users can browse goods on Marketplace in the above mentioned places that are in their local area. The social network using its algorithm will show users items it thinks they will be interested. If they see an item they wish to buy, they can message the seller directly and make arrangements for the purchase.

Users can also advertise expensive items such as houses and cars, as there is no restriction on the price tag.

Facebook prohibits “non-physical items”, such as services, digital products and rentals, as well as illegal goods. Still, users were found to be advertising everything from a “farm hand” for $1 to “About 6 oz. water (bottle not included)”.

Among the peculiar items found on Marketplace include a freshly caught fish, bath tub with a hot dog in, tamales and selfies, even though these items are not in violations of the company’s policies.

Source: The Telegraph

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