Facebook marketplace is deadly

Facebook marketplace is deadly

By Greg Collier

Craigslist used to be the poster child for dangerous marketplace platforms. It was a reputation they earned through their unmoderated ad listings which led to countless scams, human trafficking, and a number of high-profile murders. However, within five years of launching, Facebook Marketplace has become the supposed industry leader. The reason Facebook Marketplace became so successful so fast is that Facebook already had a built-in audience of one billion users worldwide and for many of Facebook’s users, Facebook is their internet. And since Facebook doesn’t want their users to wander outside of Facebook’s walled garden, Facebook will implement features to try to keep users engaged. Marketplace is just one of those features.

ProPublica is a non-profit organization that does investigative journalism. Recently, ProPublica did an extensive investigation into the problems with Facebook Marketplace. ProPublica claims in their report that Facebook Marketplace’s problems pale in comparison to the number of problems Craigslist had. They start off their report with a story about a man who was making a living selling cars on Facebook Marketplace. His Facebook account was hacked and scammers started selling cheap junk through his account. Since the account still has his name on it, he’s in fear for his life that a disgruntled customer will come looking for him. When the man tried to resolve the matter with Facebook, they just banned him from the platform with no answers given.

But to Facebook, the fact that a Marketplace account is attached to a real person makes it safer for users. Except Facebook neglects to mention the part where just about anyone can open a Facebook account. And much like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is awash with stolen goods on their listings. Facebook says that they have precautions in place to prevent scams and stolen items from being listed but according to ProPublica who spoke with past and present Marketplace employees, Facebook only reacts to complaints and does little to prevent fraudulent listings from going live.

While Facebook Marketplace hasn’t had the number or PR nightmare that Craigslist had, there have been a number of murders committed using Facebook Marketplace. Much like we posted about OfferUp, the majority of these murders come from armed robberies. We’ll spare you the gruesome details, but many of these murders were particularly disturbing.

Our point is that just because Facebook may be your social network of choice, that doesn’t make Marketplace safe by any stretch of the imagination.

The even more unfortunate part of this blog post is that a lot of our audience won’t see it, since Facebook would almost assuredly prevent it from being posted on its platform. But they can’t stop you from posting it on Facebook. So please consider sharing this post or the ProPublica article with people you know who use Facebook Marketplace.