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Facebook apologizes for drugs, guns, animals, and babies that appeared in Marketplace

After Facebook launched its new Marketplace feature — read: Craigslist competitor — on Monday, people quickly noticed that the service wasn't exactly being put to its intended use. Rather than used furniture, bikes, and appliances being put up for sale, people posted offers purporting to sell guns, animals, and weed, among other prohibited items.

Facebook now tells the BBC that "a technical issue" stopped its review system from catching these violations.

"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," a spokesman for Facebook said.
"As a result, certain posts with content that violated our policies were made visible to people visiting Marketplace.

 "We are working to fix the problem and will be closely monitoring our systems to ensure we are properly identifying and removing violations before giving more people access to Marketplace," Facebook said. "We apologize for this issue."


Barring major technical errors, it seems like it should be possible to filter out most banned product listings from the Marketplace since they're all listed publicly. Craigslist, for instance, sees its share of spam but is not widely flooded with prohibited items the way Facebook was on Monday.

The BBC spotted adverts for cannabis, a snake and what appeared to be prostitution among the content.


The problem appears to be resolved now, with few spam results present and none of the obviously illegal or banned listings showing up. At least one listing for a tobacco-related product, all of which are supposed to be banned, did make it through to the Marketplace listings Facebook displayed me, however.

What Facebook has had more trouble with is sales made in private, through hidden Facebook groups. Gun sales have continued to happen this way despite Facebook's prohibition. At least on the Marketplace, Facebook ought to be able to maintain those intended constraints.


source: BBC

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