New Security Systems to Prevent Scams and Fraud on Facebook Marketplace are Essential

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Facebook Marketplace advert selling suspiciously cheap cars 16 Feb 2024 (detail) (ref: ArthrShn)
Facebook Marketplace advert selling suspiciously cheap cars 16 Feb 2024 (detail) (ref: ArthrShn)

Facebook Marketplace can do more to prevent fraud

Facebook Marketplace is meant to be a local ‘neighbour to neighbour’ site. This sales system is created in a similar vein to the local newspaper advertising concept, which has been so popular all over the western world, before online social media existed. (1)

Therefore, commercial sellers i.e. individuals selling multiple expensive items like cars, are not suitable for this platform. It would be easy for Facebook Marketplace to identify an account with numerous expensive and similar items for sale and ‘pause’ any selling activity.

It is a simple business development task to program Facebook Marketplace (or any other online selling platform) to require additional financial verification for certain accounts. This could apply to any commercial sellers or accounts selling multiple products, to further protect ordinary domestic account users who want to trade personal items, in the traditional way.

It is very possible for Facebook Marketplace to delete many thousands of untrustworthy seller’s accounts on their site. Programming extra security code into the process of serving Facebook Marketplace content will help to eradicate a situation whereby an unsuspecting UK resident becomes a victim of ‘phishing’ or some other financial trickery. Phishing is when an honest person gives away their banking details or downloads a virus onto their computer, unintentionally.

Age controls, such as introducing an initial government identity (ID) sign in feature, can automatically check if a user’s age meets the criteria for an online sales platform. This additional security method could be a way of preventing vulnerable young people being victims of fraud unnecessarily.

It would not be difficult to install an initial ID government sign in step. It could be rolled out across the whole selling website and would only take experienced programmers a few days to set up. More official government legal regulation is needed to support parental controls and ensure minors are not able to be unwittingly financially manipulated by scammers online. Age controls are already normal practice for signing into many online organisations in several countries in Europe, such as Denmark.

Facebook Marketplace is owned by Meta and they could afford to introduce an identity checked secure payment system for buyers and sellers to work alongside their e-commerce trading website. They already have a payment system now called Meta Pay (which used to be called Facebook Pay) which also covers payments on Instagram and Messenger (a system within Facebook which is like direct email). Given the current level of scams advertised on the platforms at present, many folks will be understandably hesitant to upload their banking details to Facebook. (2)

Facebook Marketplace can make more systems to prevent scams and fraud

Facebook Marketplace and other online trading platforms such as eBay, Etsy, Folksy, NotOnTheHighStreet, Vinted and Amazon are a big part of retail sales in the UK. Undoubtedly, they are here to stay in our modern cultural life. It is wise to listen and look out in the press for new schemes and scams that can ruin an otherwise modern, fun, efficient and often worthwhile way of shopping in our busy daily lives.

Facebook Marketplace can absolutely afford the time and resources to do more to prevent fraud on their platform now. Politicians need to put pressure on law makers to encourage legislation to ensure there are more security checks on the site to rid Facebook Marketplace of fraudsters and introduce more protection for innocent consumers across the United Kingdom and beyond, who are unwittingly becoming victims of these greedy and wicked scammers.

Rules to prevent digital giants exploiting unfair market advantage when advertising products will help Facebook Marketplace users avoid scams

In November 2023 the Competition and Markets Authority introduced legislative guidelines to ensure that “Meta will no longer be able to use certain data obtained from competing businesses that advertise on its platforms to gain an unfair advantage.” This means that Meta cannot use marketing data obtained from businesses using its advertising services. This is important as the CMA states that Meta has 10 million advertisers, with a revenue estimated at £4-5 billion in 2021. (3)

Amazon and Meta have both committed to follow the CMA’s monitoring guidelines to ensure competition works effectively in the digital sector across the United Kingdom. (3)

This means that Facebook customers have the option to ‘opt-out’ of Facebook Marketplace using their advertisement interaction data to then automatically show them relevant products and services in the future. This is one easy way that everyone who is concerned about their privacy and security online can limit unwanted business marketing appearing on their feeds and account pages. The ‘Accounts Centre’ in Facebook has an ‘Ad Preferences’ section that gives users to choose to review their settings for receiving information from advertisers across their social media platforms. (4)

The online technology magazine ‘digital trends’ recommends following this process: Click on the dots on the top right-hand side of every unwanted advertisement that pops up on your feed. Select ‘hide all ads from this advertiser’ from the ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ within the ‘Options’ menu that appears. (5)

We approached Facebook Marketplace for their comments about how they are tackling governing bodies in Western countries are struggling to catch up with the massive changes in the way we work, live, play and shop in the digital age. We expect to see more direction and intervention from governments and their appointed organisations as political leaders strive to balance the power that the Tech Giants have successfully amassed, with the needs of protecting a diverse community.

Online platforms can be tremendous communication engines that can achieve wonderful connections and do good deeds. At the same time society also needs more safeguards in place to guard members or the public from the unsafe disadvantages and pitfalls involved with combining social media, virtual strangers and monetary exchanges.

See our previous article about the potential pitfalls of online trading platforms like Facebook Marketplace, tips to avoid any problems and how Facebook Marketplace Can Do More To Prevent Scams and Fraud on their popular website.

 

(1) ‘Discover, buy and sell goods with Facebook Marketplace’ Facebook Marketplace official website, 23 February 2024 https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/learn-more/

(2) ‘Meta Pay’ Facebook.com Help Pages, 23 February 2024 ‘Meta Pay’ Facebook.com Help Pages

(3) ‘CMA protects competition by curbing Meta’s use of ad customers’ data, Gov.UK, Competition and Markets Authority, 3 November 2023 ‘CMA protects competition by curbing Meta’s use of ad customers’ data, Gov.UK, Competition and Markets Authority

(4) ‘How can we help you?’ Facebook.com Help Centre, 23 February 2024 ‘How can we help you?’ Facebook.com Help Centre

(5) ‘How to opt out of targeted ads on Facebook’ Alina Bradford, 11 July 2019 ‘How to opt out of targeted ads on Facebook’ Alina Bradford

HotEnough.com Ref: A209AHV8