Facebook Marketplace could be the worst nightmare for local marketplaces like Carousell

Facebook Marketplace could be the worst nightmare for local marketplaces like Carousell

Facebook is leaving no stone unturned in its search for what the social network calls "the next billion users." Having achieved almost unparalleled reach, there's nowhere to go but up.

But there lies the conundrum for Facebook right now; where do you go when you are the most widely used social network on the planet (and there's no one else in the solar system to go after, unfortunately)? You need to make yourself even more ubiquitous by diversifying your service; by offering your users more reasons to stick around for longer; by attracting users who would normally not use your product.

Buy and sell locally

After moves like revealing its new Slideshow product last week and making progress on Free Basics (previously known as Internet.org), Facebook's next big thing to capture audiences (and ad revenue) may have become clearer. TechCrunch reported that some users noticed a new feature on their Facebook app for iPhone, called Marketplace.

From the looks of it, Marketplace will be a peer-to-peer marketplace living inside Facebook's mobile and web apps, where users can browse through a wide array of items to buy, or upload listings to sell their own stuff. Categories include clothes, home appliances, electronics, toys, beauty items, even antiques. Marketplace will apparently connect users with others in the vicinity looking to buy or sell, creating a sort of perpetual digital garage sale.

Disrupting the disruptors

But where Facebook sets its great eye, troubles may soon arrive. A lot of the markets it's looking to grab are currently served by e-commerce startups who identified that gap early and moved to fill it. In Southeast Asia, P2P marketplaces abound; from Singapore's Carousell to Indonesia's Tokopedia and Bukalapak.

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