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Facebook Marketplace gets a dash of AI for smarter listings

04 Oct 18

Facebook Marketplace has been infused with a dash of artificial intelligence (AI) and a few new features to make the platform more efficient and personalised.

Since Marketplace’s launch two years ago, it has served many growing businesses – to the point where one in three US Facebook members visit Marketplace every month.

Now sellers will be able to use AI for a number of different features, including price range suggestion, translation, and auto-categorisation.

Price range suggestions and auto-categorisation are designed to suggest prices based on what similar things have sold for on Marketplace, and categorise a product as a specific item.

Facebook Marketplace VP Deborah Liu explains: “If you wanted to sell your home office chair, Marketplace could use AI to help you sell it even faster by suggesting you price it between $50-75 based on what similar chairs recently sold for. It will also automatically categorise the chair as “furniture” based on the photo and description, so that you don’t have to.”

Facebook’s AI will also improve photo quality, translate Marketplace listings, and translate Messenger conversations. It is also testing a feature that allows potential buyers to take photos of things they like – Marketplace will then suggest similar listings for sale nearby.

Marketplace now serves a larger base of sellers, after it added more content from businesses including cars, shopping and deals from e-commerce merchants, home services, and home rentals.

”Today, vehicles is one of the most popular categories for Marketplace globally, alongside furniture and electronics. Since introducing car listings from local dealerships one year ago, Marketplace has become one of the top destinations for people to buy and sell used cars. And I’m one of them. In fact, my family just sold our car to a man who is planning to use it to help grow his small business,” Liu says.

Facebook adds that it is committed to building and maintaining trusted Marketplace communities. It has rolled out a number of trust tools, including:

•    Detecting and Removing Inappropriate Content: AI will detect and remove items that violate our policies by analysing the images, content, and context within a listing.

•    Buyer and Seller Ratings: Buyers and sellers can now rate each other to signal whether they had a good or bad experience, as well as leave feedback on where they can improve such as response time, friendliness and reliability. In addition to helping people make more informed decisions on who to transact with, community ratings help create a better experience by promoting good behaviour.

•    More Robust Reporting Tools: The community can report content that doesn’t belong on Marketplace. If you see an item for sale that you believe violates Marketplace Commerce Policies, you can easily report the listing. You can also report buyers and sellers if you see activity that you think shouldn’t be on Facebook.
 
Facebook is also asking users for ideas about creating safer marketplaces, such as identity verification and badges, and in-person safety features.