Sex, Guns, Babies for Sale on Facebook
Don’t plug a Facebook Marketplace snafu search into Twitter. Just don’t do it. Let’s just say that Twitter, too, needs humans to oversee algorithms and get rid of NSFW videos.
On Monday, Facebook rolled out its version of classified ads, Craigslist, eBay or whatever competitor you’d like to use to compare to the new Marketplace app. The thing is, Facebook didn’t expect sellers to be offering sex, guns and babies among the products and services. Neither did I, really. Yesterday, I wrote a story about how Facebook was approaching world domination because its content marketing keeps consumers tuned-in.
Now, not so much.
Sure, every company’s C-suite likes to keep profit margins, but come on! Add some human oversight, here. You’re on the Internet, Facebook. You know how it works. Doesn’t this remind you, just a little bit, of the problems you had with the trending section including fake news after laying off editors?
Products and services mean different things to different people. And sure, most marketers are on the level.
Then there’s the stuff Nicole Lyn Pesce of the New York Daily News found for sale.
“Just hours after launching its ecommerce section on Monday, the social media giant stalled the rollout and furiously apologized for the flurry of sexual solicitations, illegal drugs, weapons — and even babies — that flooded the mobile app store,” she writes.
Pesce cites tweets like this:
Thank you Facebook Marketplace for giving me the opportunity to buy babies or guns... pic.twitter.com/4g08zXkpmk
— Zack Neiner (@ZackNeiner) October 3, 2016
The headline on Pesce’s article, “Facebook Suspends Marketplace Rollout After Users Try Selling Sex, Guns and Babies,” wasn’t the only jaw-dropper:
- “Facebook Marketplace Goes Wrong: Sex, Guns and Baby Hedgehogs,” New York Times
- “Facebook Faces People Using Marketplace to Sell Weed and Snakes,” Inverse
- “Facebook Marketplace Just Opened to Total, and Potentially Illegal, Anarchy,” Mic
On Wednesday, Facebook emailed this statement from Mary Ku, Director of Product Management, Facebook, to Target Marketing:
“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. 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."
More Products (?) and Services
Reading on is up to you. These are odd. A human would’ve noticed a son for sale, a father being sold and a man asking to be murdered. (?!)
Maybe an age threshold for sellers would work (even though this isn't a Marketplace ad):
my brother just put our dad for sale on facebook pic.twitter.com/LlJ1GLNXiQ
— Breann (@breannmarie__) October 3, 2016
Or maybe not:
Just been listed on Facebook for sale, brilliant pic.twitter.com/bYJzhRvhia
— Brandon (@brandonbowles3) October 4, 2016
And good luck with building an algorithm to find ads like this:
Here are two of the first couple of things for sale in my area on Facebook Marketplace. Probably not what they had in mind. pic.twitter.com/LhB4Cffee1
— Nick Ayres (@nickjayres) October 3, 2016
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.