Facebook Marketplace Is Celebrating Its Second Birthday With New AI Features

Price ranges and categories are suggested for listings

This is what Facebook Marketplace looked like when it debuted two years ago
Facebook

On Oct. 3, 2016, Facebook introduced Marketplace, a destination for people to find—and make offers for—items directly through Facebook’s mobile application. Today—Oct. 3, 2018—Marketplace turns two years old.

Vice president of Marketplace Deborah Liu, who began overseeing the feature last September, said in a Newsroom post that more than one out of three people in the U.S. shop on Marketplace on a monthly basis, and she introduced some new features that rely on artificial intelligence.

Specifically, Marketplace will use AI to suggest price ranges and categories for listings. Liu offered as an example, “If you wanted to sell your home office chair, Marketplace could use AI to help you sell it even faster by suggesting that you price it between $50 and $75 based on what similar chairs recently sold for. It will also automatically categorize the chair as ‘furniture’ based on the photo and description, so that you don’t have to.”

New AI features for Facebook Marketplace
Facebook

The social network is also testing features in its Camera that use AI to recommend products that users may be interested in. Liu wrote, “Say you liked your friend’s headphones and wanted your own: You could snap a photo of the headphones, and Marketplace’s AI technology could recommend similar listings for sale nearby.”

She added that the technology could be expanded to enable people working on home design projects to upload photos of the room they are focusing on and receive suggestions on furniture based on that room’s layout and size.

On the non-AI side, Facebook has added content to Marketplace since its debut from businesses including cars, home rentals, home services and shopping and deals from ecommerce merchants.

Liu said that since adding car listings from local dealerships last October, Marketplace has become a top destination for buying and selling used vehicles.

Liu also detailed some of the steps Facebook is taking to keep Marketplace safe:

  • The social network is using AI to detect and remove listings that violate its policies by analyzing images, content and context within those listings.
  • Much like eBay, buyers and sellers on Marketplace can now rate each other after transactions, enabling more informed decisions before future transactions and promoting good behavior.
  • Users can report listings or buyers and sellers that violate Facebook’s commerce policies.

She added, “We’re continuously exploring ways that could help people make more informed decisions on who to buy and sell with, like badges for buyers and sellers who have confirmed their identity and features that make it easier for sellers to select a nearby public place to meet in person.”