Facebook Launches Marketplace to Let Users Buy and Sell Items

It's like a cross between Craigslist and eBay

Headshot of Marty Swant

Facebook is launching its own online venue for users to buy and sell things across their social networks.

Today, the company announced the launch of Marketplace, a destination for people to find—and make offers for—items directly through Facebook's mobile app. A button for Marketplace will replace the Messenger icon in the bottom center of the app.

Anyone who's spent time in a Facebook neighborhood group page has likely seen a post from a friend or stranger asking if someone wants to buy this or wants to sell that. According to Facebook, around a fourth of everyone on the platform—or about 450 million of the 1.7 billion users—visit buy and sell groups every month.

"To help people make more of these connections, today we're introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community," Mary Ku, Facebook's director of product management, wrote in a blog post. "Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you'll love, and find a new home for the things you're ready to part with. We'll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people."

Here's how the Marketplace will work: Users can first search for an item based on category, location and price. Then they'll be able to scan through photos and descriptions for items listed for sale in any given city or neighborhood before making an offer or messaging the seller. (This method might seem a bit safer than Craigslist, since buyers and sellers will be able to identify each other based on their user account.)

Facebook says it won't facilitate payment or delivery within Marketplace, which is rolling out over the next few days in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand for both iOS and Android. The company said it plans on offering the service to more countries in the "coming months." A desktop version of Marketplace is also in the works.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.