Your Facebook mobile app is about to change in a big way. Over the next few days, the prominent Messenger icon centered at the bottom of your screen will be replaced with an storefront-like icon for Facebook's all-new Marketplace, the company's latest tool for buying and selling stuff with people near you. In other words, a seemingly less-creepy Craigslist.
Facebook announced the new Marketplace feature on Monday, saying it's a "convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community." As you can imagine, the main appeal here is that you'll know more about the people you're dealing with thanks to Facebook's profiles instead of the potentially sketchy anonymity of sites like Craigslist. It also makes sense seeing as more than 450 million people already use Facebook Groups to buy and sell stuff in their communities every month, according to the company.
Basically, the Marketplace tab will show you (and let you search for) items available from people nearby and quickly list your own junk to sell. Tapping on an item will display more details and information about the seller. Then, if you're interested in buying the item -- a gently used fixed gear bicycle, for example -- Marketplace's integration with Facebook Messenger allows you to make an offer or contact the seller. Or, perhaps more realistically, haggle with them and arrange to meet up. Interestingly, that's about it. Here's a quick video from Facebook, showing how it works:
Facebook said Marketplace "does not facilitate the payment or delivery of items," meaning you and whoever you're dealing with will have to figure out how to exchange funds and shipping if it's necessary. However, there are plenty of mobile apps like Square and Venmo that already make peer-to-peer payments super easy.
Of course, there's always the possibility of dealing with scammers, weirdos, and other malicious people when buying and selling stuff online, but Facebook hopes being able to see the other person's basic profile information will offer additional peace of mind. With that said, maybe you'll finally get rid of that old electric guitar or dumbbell set collecting dust in your closet someday. Maybe.
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