Facebook Faces People Using Marketplace to Sell Weed and Snakes

We shouldn't have expected any better from the internet.

Getty Images / Drew Angerer

It was bound to happen. Hours after Facebook debuted Marketplace on Monday, several users had already posted listings for all manner of questionable goods, selling live animals, marijuana, souls, and overpriced water.

There were listings for weed and snakes, but further digging shows that many users simply aren’t taking the service that seriously.

“Certain posts with content that violated our policies were made visible to people visiting Marketplace,” Ku said in an emailed statement to USA Today. “We are working to fix the problem and will be closely monitoring our systems to ensure we are properly identifying and removing violations before giving more people access to Marketplace.”

The new service has sent the tech world abuzz with excitement that Facebook’s socially-driven selling area could bring in more new users, an all-important metric for any company. Facebook has gone all-in with the new feature, placing it front-and-center on the mobile app in place of the old Messenger tab. But many of the early listings, even ones that don’t technically break the rules, are enough to raise eyebrows.

At the F8 conference in April, the company unveiled a ten-year roadmap that listed future endeavors like virtual reality and artificial intelligence as part of its long-term plan. At first glance, it may seem like a marketplace doesn’t really fit with this vision, but Facebook wants to build a VR-based social network where users are posting on each other’s walls in a weird, immersive world. Marketplace is Facebook looking to tighten its grip on online-based social interactions to help develop this world.

Facebook isn’t the only thing looking to tighten its grip:

Enterprising drug dealers have also taken to the service to expand their business. While there’s a report button for alerting moderators to posts that violate the Commerce Policy, the scrutiny the new service has received meant some posts were bound to fall through the cracks before moderators got to them.

One man, presumably not too interested in storing up treasures for himself in heaven, has looked to the spiritual in search of one of the UK’s new five pound notes.

One day, this will all take place in virtual reality.

Still, at least we’ll be able to visualize our beautiful red bricks before we pay good money for them.

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