Drugs and guns and baby hedgehogs, oh my: Facebook has apologized for a "technical glitch" in its Marketplace that allowed the sale of illegal items.
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The social network on Monday launched a new version of its in-app yard sale for iOS and Android users in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. But the digital shop, which features categories like Household, Electronics, and Apparel, was soon featuring some rather unique items.
Thank you Facebook Marketplace for giving me the opportunity to buy babies or guns... pic.twitter.com/4g08zXkpmk
— Zack Neiner (@ZackNeiner) October 3, 2016
"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," Facebook said in a statement.
"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. We apologize for this issue."
The social media giant already has restrictions on ads regarding regulated goods like pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs. But earlier this year, it announced an additional ban on the private sale of guns on the site (and its subsidiary Instagram).
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Where there's a will, however, there's a way. Facebook in April found itself fighting large-scale efforts to sell military-grade weapons to terrorists and militants via Groups. So it should come as little surprise that enterprising users have once again tapped into the company's 450 million-person-strong digital forum to hawk illicit items.
There are, of course, plenty of legitimate items for sale in the Marketplace: Press the shop icon at the bottom of the mobile app to explore photos of nearby products. Browse categories or filter search results by location, category, and price. Tap an image for more details, including a description, the seller's name and profile picture (as well as mutual friends), and general location. Follow on-screen prompts to send a direct message and make an offer, or save the item for later.
Or, to unload some hoarded junk, take a photo in the app or add one from your camera roll; enter a product name, description, and price; confirm location and select category; then post. Visit the "Your Items" section to view saved merchandise, products you've posted for sale, and conversations with other users.