Facebook Marketplace gets smarter with new A.I.-powered tools

Facebook Marketplace has become a major online source of discovering secondhand and even new items, and now the online sales listings will use artificial intelligence for smarter sales. On Tuesday, October 2, Facebook announced new A.I.-powered tools for Marketplace that allow users to find a suggested price and even search for sale items using a photo.

For selling, new A.I. tools will suggest prices and categories for the listing. Facebook says that the prices are based on what a similar item recently sold for in the area. Along with suggesting a price, Facebook will now suggest a category based on the description and the photo. Both tools are designed to streamline the process of adding a new listing, Facebook says.

Facebook is also introducing a handful of tools for buying from Marketplace — though these tools are only in testing for a limited number of users. Camera tools inside Marketplace could make it possible to search for an item by taking a photo — similar to Pinterest Lens or even shopping Amazon from the Snapchat camera. After snapping a photo, the tool suggests similar items for sale nearby.

Facebook says that the camera tool could one day go even further, like to suggest furniture based on a photo of what’s already in the room. Facebook says the tool would use the image to look for furniture that’s appropriate for the size and layout of the room.

Facebook is also putting its A.I. to work for the safety of its users, as the tool helps to remove listings that violate the network’s policies. 

Buyers and sellers will also be able to rate transactions and leave feedback on the purchase. The community ratings, Facebook says, have two goals: To help users decide who to buy from, and to encourage more responsible behavior inside Marketplace. 

The update also enhances the reporting tools and adds more types of listings that are from businesses rather than other Facebook users. Facebook says they are still exploring new options to potentially bring to Marketplace in the future, including a tool suggesting a nearby public place for a meet.

The social media giant says more than one out of every three U.S. users browse the 2-year-old Facebook Marketplace at least once a month.

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