Facebook launches Marketplace in SA to disrupt classifieds industry

Johannesburg - Social network Facebook will roll out Marketplace in South Africa in the following weeks as it hopes to disrupt the local classifieds industry.

The feature within the Facebook app has launched in 47 countries, with more than 550 million people from around the world visiting the platform to buy and sell goods each month.

Marketplace makes use of the Facebook interface in an attempt to offer users an easier platform to use, and will likely go head-to-head with already existing platforms like Gumtree and OLX. 

In an interview with Fin24, Facebook Platform’s head of product Karandeep Anand said the South African market was identified as a key region to roll out Marketplace. 

“Marketplace was initially built to supplement the Facebook groups which focus on buying and selling items on the platform,” Anand said. 

He added that within the next two weeks Facebook app users in the country will notice a new Marketplace icon, which will appear at the bottom of the app page in the centre. 

The feature in the Facebook app was designed to ensure safe trading for users, according to Anand. The company has implemented safety precautions for traders, including privacy controls and reporting tools.

Marketplace also allows users to communicate with one another on a platform based off the Facebook Messenger app, which works with or without the independent communication app. 

“Across the world we have seen Marketplace being used by people for various items. Popular items include accessories, clothing and apparel. We are very interest to see how South African Facebook users make use of the feature,” Anand said.  

How to use Marketplace

  • To use Marketplace, tap on the Marketplace icon.
  • To find what you're looking for, search at the top and filter your results by location, category or price.
  • To sell something, take a photo, describe your item, set your price and you are done.
  • Buyers and sellers can communicate with each other using Facebook Messenger.

Safely tips for using Marketplace

  • Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with Facebook community standards and commerce policies.
  • When buying an item, examine it carefully for quality, condition and authenticity before paying. For high-value items (watches, luxury bags), consider requesting a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase.
  • If the seller offers to ship the item rather than exchanging it in person, you may not have the opportunity to verify the item before completing your purchase. You can use a service such as Standard Bank’s Shepherd to arrange safe payment and shipment. Shepherd keeps the money for a transaction in a trust account and releases it to the seller once the buyer verifies he or she has received the correct item in good condition.
  • Don't invite buyers or sellers to your home. Meet in a public place like a coffee shop or the mall. Before going, tell a family member or a friend where you will be, bring your cellphone, and consider asking another adult to come with you.
  • Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash or person-to-person payments. If you choose to pay electronically using EFT, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method's website. If the value of the item you intend to buy or sell requires a significant amount of cash, you might consider using a person-to-person payment method, such as PayPal or FNB eWallet.
  • Don't share your financial account information (example: payment login and password, bank account info) with buyers or sellers. Additionally, make sure your Facebook privacy settings are up to date. These settings help limit what other people can see (example: status updates, location, photos) on your profile page and what you share on Facebook.
  • If you're having a problem with someone in Marketplace, you can report them.  

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