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Illustration by Jason Reed

Facebook Marketplace was a hotbed of drugs, guns, and trash—and now it may be over

Somebody shoulda seen this coming.


Monica Riese


When Debug Editor Mike Wehner wrote about the Facebook relaunch of its Marketplace feature literally three days ago, he ended with a question: “How long will it last this time?”

Less than three days, apparently.

In a move that anybody (Bueller?) should have seen coming, the wannabe Craigslist killer immediately became a hotbed for all the things Facebook said it shouldn’t be: Drugs, guns, sex, and babies were all for sale on the platform within 48 hours. (Full disclosure: Daily Dot Director of Social Video Matt Silverman was one of those who—we hope jokingly—listed his kid for sale.)

Facebook’s commerce policies explicitly forbid adult services, recreational drugs, weapons, animals, alcohol, and a dozen other categories, but the site was quickly flooded with posts like these for drugs, humans, and actual trash.



Tuesday, Facebook blamed the posts on a “technical issue,” according to CNN, but it’s stopped the feature’s continued rollout while it works to better filter the content.

If Craigslist—now 20 years old—is any indication, that could take a while.

Update 5:00pm CT: Marketplace is back in business. Mary Ku, Facebook’s director of product management, said this in a statement: “As we expanded Marketplace access, we encountered a technical issue that prevented our reviewing system from identifying some posts that violated our Commerce Policies and Community Standards. As a result, certain posts with content that violated our policies were made visible to people visiting Marketplace. We have addressed the technical issue that caused this problem and are closely monitoring our systems to ensure violations are properly identified and removed as we gradually expand access to Marketplace.”

H/T AV Club, but inexplicably not its “Good job, internet” section

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