Facebook Introduces eBay Competitor Marketplace

facebook marketplaceFacebook has revealed a new service that will enable users to buy and sell items to other users in their local area in a move that puts the social network into direct competition with long-established auction site eBay.

Marketplace builds on buying and selling communities that have been established within Facebook Groups, which according to Facebook already see 450m users conducting transactions using the platform.

Marketplace will make these transactions simpler and more streamlined, with users able to enter Marketplace via a shop icon within both the app version of Facebook. From there, items close to your location are listed using large images, with users able to search for specific items and filter results by location, category or price.

Once they find an item theyre interested in, users can click for further details, and message the seller via Facebook. The social network notably does not facilitate payments or delivery of items in Marketplace, although the focus on local sales means most items are likely to be collected in person.

Selling via Marketplace will be similarly streamlined, with users able to add a picture from their camera roll or take one in app, add a price and details, and list an item all in a manner of seconds.

The feature will be rolling out to users over 18 in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand over the next few days on both iOS and Android. Over the coming months, Facebook plans to expand Marketplace to additional countries and bring it to the desktop version of the platform, although for the moment it will be a mobile-first offering.

Quite how serious Facebook is about competing with online sales services like eBay, Craigslist and Gumtree remains to be seen. Its possible this is just the company seeking to turn an unregulated use of its Groups function into part of its core platform.

However, as Facebook increasingly seeks to integrate additional services to its core offering, Marketplace could become a substantial part of the companys future.