If you’re a resident of South Africa then you’re likely aware of OLX or the more venerable Gumtree. The next company to step into this space locally is one you might have heard of as well: Facebook.
That’s correct, Facebook is now launching Facebook Marketplace for South Africa. Users will soon have an icon on their apps which will take them through to a community marketplace where sellers can list new and second-hand goods for sale. And then other people can come along and buy them.
This info comes by way of head of Facebook Platform Karandeep Anand, speaking in an interview with ITWeb. The service has been around for a while, launching first in 2016 and available in almost 50 countries at this point, but South Africa marks the venture’s first foray into Africa.
The way that Facebook operates their Marketplace offering is almost philanthropic — until you realise that the company now knows what you’re buying, selling, and interested in.
Which might have something to do with why Facebook doesn’t take a cut of any sales, Marketplace functions as a vehicle for folks to shift unwanted gifts and items they don’t use any more. Facebook doesn’t operate a payment platform and the company definitely won’t deliver items — that’s up to the sellers. Exchanges and payments are the responsibility of the parties involved, meaning that a public meeting and not just transferring cash for a product you don’t already have in your hands might be a good place to start.
All that Facebook does is vet the sales posts — once an image, price and description is set the ad is submitted for approval. This is largely automated, though Facebook has a human team keeping an eye on things as well. Sales need to comport to local laws, those that don’t will be barred from going on sale or taken down when flagged by users.
The rollout of Facebook Marketplace starts from today. Users who have the newest version of the Facebook app will see the new icon turning up in the next two weeks or so. After that, you won’t even need to leave Facebook to shop for odds and ends. You know, whatever people happen to be selling. The service will be restricted to South Africa only for a while, with the possibility of access to a more global market waiting in the wings. How the service performs, though… that’s something we’re quite interested in seeing.