Facebook recently introduced Marketplace, a new feature that allows its users to buy and sell items with other people in their community.
However, the newly-launched Facebook Marketplace started off on a rocky note after a surprising turn of events converted the Marketplace into an online commerce platform similar to Silk Road.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.
Highly Illicit Offers
One listing purportedly advertised the sale of baby hedgehog while another listed some birds for sale. One of the most shocking listings, however, featured a baby on sale at the price of $111.
Other illicit listings featured guns, adult services and, in one particular case, a £5 bill which was going for $10.
Some witty users resorted to using ruses to set up their illicit offers by placing a legitimate item, such as a canned drink, next to the advertised weapon.
It was not long before the Marketplace earned the title of the Silk Road with public access.
Facebook has responded and condemned the posting of illicit offers on their newly-launched Marketplace.
The director of the firm’s product management, Mary Ku, blamed the torrent of uncensored listings on a technical glitch that prevented the reviewing of the postings before they were cleared for posting on the Marketplace.
The Silk Road appearance of the Facebook Marketplace was attributed to a technical issue that arose during the roll-out of Marketplace, which prevented the firm from reviewing and eliminating any offensive or illicit postings.
Ku admitted that the glitch was the main reason why people were able to take advantage of the platform in ways that violated their policies.
She pointed out that action was already being taken to fix the issues and that the company was closely monitoring their systems in order to detect and eliminate any listings that went against their policies.
Darknet marketplaces such as the Silk Road thrived under the cover of anonymity offered by the highly secure Tor network among other encrypted platforms.
The Facebook Marketplace has however shown how online criminals will not hesitate to turn any mainstream platform into an instrument for their illicit activities, despite the lack of the protective cloak that surrounded the Silk Road before its demise.
Much like the Silk Road marketplace which was shut down by the FBI a few years back, the Marketplace was full of illicit listings only a few days after it was launched to the public.
The highly public and global profile of the social media platform did little to deter the posting of illicit offers on its Marketplace.
Despite the lack of levels of anonymity offered by platforms such as the Silk Road, users can still hide under made up pseudonyms with fake profiles, which is an effective way of concealing one’s identity.
The launch of the Facebook Marketplace has been met with a lot of skepticism, even more so now thanks to their shaky start.
The limited roll-out and the lack of a desktop version as of yet might greatly slow down progress, and it may take a while for the concept to gain any meaningful traction.