Glitch Caused Facebook’s New “Marketplace” To Show Ads For Drugs, Animals, Adult Services

Shortly after launching on Monday, Facebook’s Craigslist competitor, Marketplace, became overrun with ads for drugs, exotic animals, adult services, and other illegal items in violation of the company’s own policies. Today, the social media network blamed a glitch for allowing the posts to become public. 

In a statement to Business Insider, Facebook executives claimed that a “technical issue” occurred when the company expanded Marketplace to other areas, allowing posts that would normally be weeded out to infiltrate the classified section.

“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,” Mary Ku, director of product management for Facebook, said in a statement.

Facebook’s Commerce Policy prohibits the sale of illegal, prescription or recreational drugs; tobacco items and related paraphernalia; unsafe supplements; weapons, ammunition or explosives; animals; adult items or services; alcohol; adult health items; real money gambling services; and non-physical items including but not limited to services, subscriptions, digital products, or rentals.

Despite this, Business Insider reports that Marketplace became littered with posts selling marijuana, a $300 snake, $50 baby hedgehogs, Tamales, adult services, fish, and other items or services.

“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, “ Ku said. “We apologize for this issue.”

In order to ensure that posts in violation of Facebook’s policies don’t make it into Marketplace, the company is relying on employees to proactively look for offensive listings, as well as user reports of posts they think should be removed.

Facebook says a ‘technical issue’ caused illegal listings to flood its new Craigslist competitor [Business Insider]
People are already selling drugs, animals, and adult services on Facebook’s new Craigslist competitor [Business Insider]

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