What You Need to Know Before Buying or Selling on Facebook Marketplace

Updated: Jul. 19, 2023

What You Need to Know Before Buying or Selling on Facebook Marketplace

Buying and selling online has opened a whole new world for people looking to find deals. Among the biggest marketplaces we have ebay, Etsy, Walmart, Craigslist and Amazon. But, if you’re looking for local deals, sites and apps like OfferUp, LetGo and Facebook’s digital garage sale, Facebook Marketplace, are great options.

By the way, here are more tips for selling your stuff online.

What is Facebook Marketplace?

Much like Mark Zuckerberg’s original idea to start Facebook for the purpose of connecting college students virtually, Facebook Marketplace seeks to provide a place for locals to connect over items they wish to buy, sell and trade. “We started [Marketplace] because we saw people were doing it,” says Facebook VP of marketplace, Deborah Liu, referencing the growing trend of people using Groups on the social media platform to organize sales.

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How Does Selling on Facebook Marketplace Work?

While Facebook plays no part in facilitating or managing transactions, Facebook users can utilize the Marketplace to search for items to buy, browse for-sale items by category and/or locations, create item listings (uploading photos, adding product description, choosing a category and location, etc.), view previous and current transactions and messages, message buyers/sellers to arrange transactions and even set custom bids for items. The Marketplace can be accessed on a desktop at facebook.com/marketplace or via the app for Android and iOS.

In order to interact, buyers can message sellers using the “Make Offer” or “Message Seller” buttons available on every product profile. This is where the buyer and seller can have a conversation within Marketplace. They can also use the Messenger app.

Using the “Selling” screen in Marketplace, sellers can access conversations with potential buyers, while buyers can view their conversations with potential sellers using the “Buying” screen. Both of these screens are available under “Your Items.”

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What are the Rules for Facebook Marketplace?

Products and services sold on Facebook must adhere to the site’s Commerce Policies. There are certain items that cannot be sold, including:

  • Adult products or services
  • Alcohol
  • Animals
  • Digital media and electronic devices
  • Event tickets
  • Gift cards
  • Healthcare items (thermometers, first-aid kits, etc.)
  • Illegal, prescription or recreational drugs
  • Tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia
  • Unsafe supplements
  • Weapons, ammunition, or explosives

In addition, you must be selling a physical item (no air guitars!), and you cannot post “in search of” posts, lost and found posts, jokes and news. A picture of the item you’re selling must match the description, while you cannot post before-and-after images.

View the Facebook Marketplace Commerce Policies for more information.

Is Buying and Selling on Facebook Marketplace Safe?

While there can be risks to buying and selling on Facebook, by using best practices, Facebook Marketplace is as safe for buying and selling items as are other similar sites. Use the following checklist, and common sense to keep you safe:

  • Guard personal details. Be sure to look out for red flags, including questions like: “Are you home alone?” and “Will you allow me to come into your house and take the item?”
  • Don’t provide your full name and contact information.
  • Make sure you meet in a public space, such as a police station or fast food restaurant parking lot.
  • Bring a buddy along and always buy/sell your item in public.

Why Should you Consider Facebook Marketplace?

What’s appealing about this marketplace is that Facebook is free to join and there are no fees for selling, making it very low-risk, financially. Also, many of us use the social network anyway, so you don’t have to spend time signing up for/inputting your information in another platform. You can protect yourself in a number of ways, including tapping on a person’s profile to view their Marketplace activity and ratings, as well as report listings that look suspicious.

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Can Friends See What You Post on Facebook Marketplace?

Technically, yes. This is because products posted in Marketplace can be viewed by anyone with access to Marketplace. However, items you’re selling aren’t automatically published on your Facebook News Feed, and your friends won’t be notified about the items you’re selling unless you choose to share that information with them.