How to buy, sell stuff with Facebook’s new Craigslist competitor

WASHINGTON — Facebook wants to make it easier for you to unload your old set of golf clubs, clothes your kids have outgrown and the extra chest of drawers that you meant to drag down the stairs for a yard sale.

Or, if your teenager suddenly decides she needs a slightly-used guitar, chances are Facebook Marketplace can locate one in your neighborhood.

On Monday, Facebook launched its new mobile classifieds section, which seems to be a direct competitor to Craigslist.

Facebook Marketplace has jumped to a prime piece of real estate on the social giant’s mobile app — the center icon on the bottom of the app.

By pressing the icon, a seller can take photos of an item, write a description, set an asking price, and have it be seen by anyone — not just friends — within a user-selected distance, from two miles to 100 miles.

Sellers and potential buyers can discuss the item directly through Facebook’s Messenger app, including the negotiation of price, shipping and other logistics.

In its blog, Facebook says buyers can browse a variety of categories, ranging from Household to Electronics to Apparel.

Facebook doesn’t take a cut of the profits, or offer any protections to either seller or buyer.

As with Craigslist, a transaction between strangers comes with some risks. However, both seller and buyer have access to each other’s Facebook profile, which provides slightly more accountability.

Some Marketplace users are already attempting to skirt Facebook’s policies, offering drugs, animals, and adult services.

Facebook Director of Product Management Mary Ku told Business Insider a “technical issue” caused those listings to get past its review process, but the company is “working to fix the problem,” and “closely monitoring our systems to ensure we are properly identifying and removing violations before giving more people access to Marketplace.”

Watch Facebook’s video explaining how Marketplace works:

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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