The newly launched Facebook Marketplace has been greeted with a lot of anticipation. Unfortunately, it did not take long for things to get severely out of hand. Less than 24 hours after the public launch, the Marketplace looked very similar to Silk Road. Illegal drugs, weapons, and adult services were just some of the listings that violated the TOS. It looks like the darknet is not the only place where criminals want to buy or sell goods and services.
Facebook Marketplace Becomes A Public Darknet Forum
When people want to buy or sell drugs, weapons, or other illicit products online, they will usually flock to the darknet. Accessing these platforms requires specific software, such as the Tor Browser. Silk Road was once its prime marketplace until it was shut down by the FBI a few years ago.
But the darknet is not the only place where people can buy and sell less than legitimate goods and services. The newly launched Facebook Marketplace is no better, as it contained plenty of illicit listings as soon as it opened to the public. Baby hedgehogs may have been the last illegal offering on there to date.
Criminals will flock to any platform that has mainstream traction to try and attract customers. For drugs, guns, and sexual services, there is a vast audience, most of whom like to lurk on the deep web. But with Facebook Marketplace, it was possible to buy and sell these things in the open. Apparently the company’s reviewing system was compromised due to a “technical issue,” and no screening for commerce policies violations took place.
While Facebook has a global appeal, these types of malicious postings were to be expected. Anything that has somewhat of an advantage over tightly regulated marketplaces and auction sites will attract the criminal element. Although Facebook is more public than the deep web, users can still hide behind fake profiles without much trouble.
At the same time, a social network launching its marketplace is greeted with some skepticism. Most people wonder why they would leave “trusted” ecosystems such as Amazon or even eBay for Facebook Marketplace. With a limited roll out to a handful of countries, it will take some time until the concept gains traction. Moreover, the marketplace will not be accessible through a desktop for the next few months, as the company focuses on mobile first.
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