Facebook launching Marketplace app in ČR

A new service is meant to rival online auction sites

The Czech Republic is among 17 countries joining a new feature on Facebook called Marketplace, which is becoming available here this month. The service is meant to rival online auction sites where people can sell their own items. It allows more people to see the items from than just the friends of the person selling them or members of a small local Facebook group.

Marketplace appears as a new tab on the Facebook app. A blue icon in the shape of a shopping cart will appear in the app. Access to the marketplace should also appear on the left side of the page on the desktop version.

“Facebook is where people connect, and in recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other. This activity started in Facebook Groups and has grown substantially. More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world,” a Facebook news release said when the service was first launched in a limited area.

Buyers can select the radius they want to shop in, and the app will initially present items that the Facebook algorithms guess that the user in interested in. Buyers can also search in terms of what items they want by type, price and location, or browse through categories like household goods.

Sellers upload photos of their items, chose a category and list a price. They can also select a range of area that they want to sell in. Communication between the buyer and seller will start over the Facebook messenger app. The two users do not need to become “friends” over Facebook.

Facebook also points out it does not facilitate payment or delivery.

As with similar services, the buyer can see a profile of the seller including what they sold in the past and what sales groups they are members of. Users can also report suspicious activities to Facebook.

The sales activity will not appear on the regular profile of the users, but will only be visible in the Marketplace app.

Facebook will also use the app to collect data about what people are buying or selling.

The service was introduced in October 2016 in US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand on the Facebook app for iPhone and Android for users over 18 years old. Since then, Canada, Mexico and Chile have been added.

It is now expanding into Europe. Facebook is used by 4.5 million people in the Czech Republic, which has a population of 10.56 million. Hungary and Austria are also joining the service.

The Marketplace app recently made headlines in the US, but perhaps not the ones Facebook wants. A couple found their stolen Xbox and TV for sale over the app and set up a meeting to but them, but the police were waiting instead. The sellers are now being held awaiting trial.

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