Scammers turn to Facebook Marketplace as it hits a billion users

Facebook Marketplace
(Image credit: Shutterstock/PixieMe)
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Shortly after Facebook revealed that its ecommerce platform (opens in new tab) reached the milestone of one billion active users, reports have claimed scammers are using this growth to launch bigger campaigns. 

Capitalizing off the social media giant’s success, ProPublica found that one Facebook Marketplace account was hacked and used to post roughly 100 scam listings for mobile phones and cars.

TechRadar Pro reached out to Facebook (opens in new tab) for a comment regarding the claims  and its strategy to safeguard its users from scammers.

Facebook claims to protect its users through a combination of automated systems and human reviews, but ProPublica’s investigation found those measures, put in place to protect buyers and sellers from fake accounts and scam listings, all apparently failed.

Facebook Marketplace 

Launched in 2016, Facebook Marketplace looked to promote the buying and selling of items with people amongst their local communities.

In April 2021, the platform hit one billion users (opens in new tab) as the global pandemic boosted the ecommerce market.

In Facebook’s recent Q2 2021 results, founder and CEO, Mark Zucherberg said: "We had a strong quarter as we continue to help businesses grow and people stay connected.

"I'm excited to see our major initiatives around creators and community, commerce, and building the next computing platform coming together to start to bring the vision of the metaverse to life."

ProPublica’s investigation was a combination of internal corporate documents, interviews and law enforcement records that exposed the alleged hacking activity.

The scams included listings that violate Facebook’s ecommerce policies, including a network of fake and suspicious accounts posting listings for untrustworthy male enhancement supplements.

Facebook has published a guide to help its Marketplace users avoid scammers online, including telling users to be wary of gift card scams and look out for counterfeit items.

Via ProPublica (opens in new tab) 

Abigail Opiah
B2B Editor - Web hosting & Website builders

Abigail is a B2B Editor that specializes in web hosting and website builder news, features and reviews at TechRadar Pro. She has been a B2B journalist for more than five years covering a wide range of topics in the technology sector from colocation and cloud to data centers and telecommunications. As a B2B web hosting and website builder editor, Abigail also writes how-to guides and deals for the sector, keeping up to date with the latest trends in the hosting industry. Abigail is also extremely keen on commissioning contributed content from experts in the web hosting and website builder field.