With Marketplace, Facebook tries to become the new Craigslist

MobileOctober 3, 20165:00 AM PDT

Dust off your Tiffany lamps. Facebook is throwing a giant neighborhood tag sale.

The social network on Monday unveiled Marketplace, a new section of its mobile app that lets people list items for sale to any Facebook users in their neighboring area. Marketplace adds to popular buy and sell groups already on the site -- but, unlike these groups, doesn't require users to get approved before joining.

Facebook has no immediate places to take a cut from sales on Marketplace or serve ads on Marketplace pages. Despite not making money directly from the new initiative (at least for now), Facebook could use Marketplace as another reason for people to keep coming back to the site, while also helping it grow its giant user base of 1.7 billion users.

The company wanted to create Marketplace after seeing all the activity in the buy and sell groups, and use the feature as another part of its mission to connect the world, a Facebook spokesperson said. Facebook said Monday more than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month.

Marketplace adds to a new crop of competitors in Craigslist, with startups Letgo and OfferUp also jumping into local classifieds. But, with Facebook maintaining a huge base of users, it may give all these competitors -- and eBay -- a run for their money.

Marketplace will roll out in the next few days in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand to users over 18 years old. More countries and a desktop version will be coming in the future. The expansion of Marketplace comes after Facebook tested out the program in New Zealand, parts of the US and Chile over the past year.

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