Scams are completely out of control on Facebook Markeplace

Every second day my kid’s lacrosse association has to send out a ‘don’t buy this product, it’s a scam’ message because yet another random scammer has scraped the logo and pasted it onto some clothing, then posted onto the team page ‘support your team, buy these products…’

You’d think FB was making money from this insanity. Oh, wait…


Craigslist is one of those random successes from the early days that grew organically, at least initially. It started out as just an email list.


The buyers on FBM are just as bad. I tried selling a carrom table a few years ago. The first fifteen responses were either no-shows or haggled, then ghosted. Took over a month to get through the queue to someone credible.


And Etsy is all Printify and Chinese wholesale.

And Amazon is 95% SEOptimized resellers making it impossible to find the actual item you’re looking for.


I have used facebook market place and it was ok here in the uk, until business people got on it, and now 100% of the listings are just companies listing products for £0 and then in the description saying ofc this is not free it costs this much, just so their listings are higher, I would ban all £0 listings

But then would just list at what ever the new minimum is.


Facebook marketplace is an attempt at the same bait and switch that they pulled with band/artist pages. They made it very easy and free to make an artist page and use it to reach and engage with loads of people, rendered myspace etc obsolete, and became a better and free alternative to having your own dedicated website. Then once everyone was dependent on it to promote themselves, they started fucking about with the post reach to the point where you have no idea, and no control, over how many people see, for example, the post about your upcoming gig. Or maybe 600 people will suddenly see the post about your gig several days after it’s happened.
Presumably when there is zero transparency about how many people will see your post, and what effect paying to boost the post will actually have, people will pay more than they would if they knew exactly what the effect will be.
Same thing with marketplace. List something on marketplace, for example a laptop, then use another account to search for laptops for sale in your local area (if you search using your own account your own listing will show up right at the top).
Half the time the one you listed might appear way, way down the page, while other laptops that are 60 miles away or more appear right at the top. Go ahead and try using the filters to limit the range of the search to your immediate local area, they will make fuck all difference.
You can choose to show nearest first, if it shows up and if it works, but the default search results, which nearly everyone who uses it will stick to, will sort the listings according to some completely opaque algorithm, and the only thing you can do is boost the post, which might help, might not.


I was going to write something about the germanophone eBay Kleinanzeigen which recently change it’s name to just Kleinanzeigen.

Turns out, it is a rather complicated rabbit hole.

And your post is actually the first time I heard about Kijiji, I think.


I use Facebook and Craigslist for local in person cash purchases. Haven’t sold anything on Craigslist for a while.

Credit cards never come into play. I guess I could get murdered and robbed when meeting but I could get murdered at the mall so…

I use Facebook for finding firewood and getting it delivered. I’ve found some really good people that way.

I agree though, it is hard to wade through the scams to get to a good local seller.

I have bought jewelry for my wife and some other hand made and used stuff from Etsy. That’s always been an excellent experience.


While I don’t know if one is in proximity to you, you’re probably least likely to get murdered in front of a police station using one of their Safe Trade Zones (racial concerns notwithstanding).


I’d be curious about whether facebook just doesn’t care, so the nonzero cost of doing something about it makes them not bother; or whether there’s actually a perceived upside.

Dealing with scammers presumably doesn’t make people happy; but time spent scrolling through scams to try to find actual listings is still time spent on the platform; plus, if what team behaviorism says about the virtues of intermittent reinforcement in conditioning and/or the presence of the ‘near-miss’ effect in gamblers(especially problem gamblers) is anything to go by; getting hit with a steady stream of too-appealing-to-be-true entries and uncertainty about whether an offer will pan out or not might actually be quite engaging for reasons unrelated to happiness.

There’s obviously an extreme past which the platform just becomes unusable; but the existence of a level of fraud that’s actually beneficial, rather than merely not worth bothering about, from the perspective of facebook’s metrics does not strike me as implausible.


I would expect that scammers also pay to boost their scam posts too, so that’s a factor.

1 Like

And if by some miracle you are able to find what you want, 2/3-3/4 of the time it has to be returned because Amazon simply refuses to pack items adequately for shipping. A flimsy envelope is not sufficient to ship any physical media, you morons. It always gets damaged.


It’s the Canadian Craigslist and nobody outside Canada has heard of it, I think. :smile:

It used to be good, but is now overrun with ads and dealers such that maybe 1/30 listings are an actual person in your area selling a thing.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.