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Facebook launches online Marketplace platform in Singapore

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Facebook users here will be able to buy and sell items through the social media platform from Tuesday, with the launch of the Marketplace feature in Singapore.

[SINGAPORE] Facebook users here will be able to buy and sell items through the social media platform from Tuesday, with the launch of the Marketplace feature in Singapore.

Those using the latest version of the Facebook app will see the addition of a shopfront icon, while desktop users will see a new tab. The function will be rolled out over the next two weeks.

Marketplace, which is similar to local online platform Carousell, allows users to list and browse items for sale and filter results by location, price or categories such as furniture, electronics and apparel.

Buyers and sellers communicate through the messaging function to make offers and work out transaction details, as Facebook does not facilitate the payment or delivery of items.

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Singapore, which has four million monthly Facebook users, will be the third Asian country to launch the service after Thailand and India, Facebook's director of product management Karandeep Anand told The Straits Times in an interview.

The service, first introduced in the United States in 2016, is currently available in 47 other countries, and is restricted to users aged 18 and above.

The Marketplace feature is an evolution of existing Facebook groups that are used for trade, said Mr Anand."Over 550 million people globally use Facebook today to buy and sell items in local communities. We are building on that to create a single destination for people to discover, buy and sell items," he said.

Members of such groups will now have to option to cross-list items for sale on both the group and Marketplace simultaneously.

Marketplace is primarily a platform for consumers to trade used goods, though markets like the United States are testing the listing of Facebook Pages and shops as well, said Mr Anand.

"We will learn from that and explore what the Singapore Marketplace needs," he added.

The platform currently lacks a feedback and user rating function which is also being tested in the US and will likely roll out to other countries in the future, he said.

The social experience will be separate from Marketplace, and listings will not appear on individual profiles. But the ability to view a seller's public profile helps to add a layer of trust, he said. "We will be adding tips and tricks to make sure people are not sharing information they should not be sharing, and for exchanges of expensive items for example to request a certificate of authenticity."

Items listed are automatically screened for prohibited items such as guns and alcohol and users are also able to flag items though a report function.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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