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, Facebook Marketplace makes use of the network’s interface to offer users an easier platform to operate, and will most certainly go head-to-head with existing platforms such as Gumtree, OLX, and the stalwart, Junk Mail.
Marketplace was initially built to supplement the Facebook groups which focus on buying and selling items on the platform (such as Second Hand Joburg and Pre-Loved Joburg). 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. But how safe is it? This feature in the Facebook app was designed to ensure safe trading for users… but with that said, be wary of scammers – as we’ve noticed with these buy/sell groups on social media. Fortunately for users, Facebook is coming to the party when it comes to ensuring safety. The company has implemented safety precautions for traders, including privacy controls and reporting tools. Facebook 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.
Safely tips When Browsing The Facebook Marketplace
- 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.
- Meet in a public place – not at your home. Tell a family member or a friend where you will be, bring your cellphone, and consider asking someone to come with you.
- If you’re having a problem with someone in Marketplace, report them immediately.
- Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with Facebook community standards and commerce policies.
- 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.
By Shawn Greyling