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How de-cluttering grew Facebook Marketplace to 1bn users



By Suzanne Bearne

Business reporter

image copyrightSaytani Mitra

image captionSayantani Mitra gets “a thrill” from finding good second-hand stuff online

Sayantani Mitra say she now scrolls through listings on Facebook Marketplace “for hours”.

A 28-year-old from Oxford, prior to the pandemic she “would buy everything from charity shops, whether that’s furniture, clothes, or bags and accessories”.

But with lockdowns closing High Streets last year, her hunt for second-hand bargains switched to listings websites and apps.

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Ms Mitra also now uses eBay and sites Vinted and Vesaire, which both specialise in people selling pre-owned clothing. But she says that Facebook Marketplace is her “first place to go” because it focuses on sellers who live nearby.

“There’s a thrill in finding something unique on there,” says Ms Mitra, whose purchases over the past year have included a fridge freezer, plant stands, and a dining room table.

The boss of home decoration brand Jurande, she adds: “It’s convenient as I can collect from nearby. I have literally collected from around the corner.”

Facebook does not release standalone financial details for Marketplace, It is in fact free for non-business users to put up a simple sales listing, as the firm makes it money from users simply being on its ecosystem and seeing all the advertisements on the site.

However, Marketplace’s user numbers have soared during the pandemic. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that Marketplace now has more than one billion global users. This is up from a reported 800 million in 2018, for a service that was only launched in 2016.

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image captionFacebook Marketplace is now a global behemoth

At the same time, eBay says it saw a surge in the number of people in the UK selling second-hand items last year. It found that more than two-thirds of UK users said they had started selling pre-owned goods in 2020 to earn extra cash during the pandemic.

Ebay says that two second-hand fashion items were sold via its UK website and app every second in 2020.

“What we saw was a lot of people in their homes surrounded by their stuff, and looking at it every day and thinking ‘what don’t I need?’, or realising they could make a bit of money out of it,” says eBay’s UK head of consumer selling, Emma Grant.

“Also, it was a time when people became money conscious. There’s also been a surge in sustainable shopping, even beyond the people wanting to do the right thing, of finding joy in unique [second-hand] items.”

image copyrightEmma Grant

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image captionEmma Grant says that many people de-cluttered during the pandemic

For some people, such as 27-year-old Lapoze McTribouy, the pandemic has helped turn a hobby of selling second-hand clothing into a career.

She had been selling via pre-owned clothes website and app, Depop, on-and-off since 2013. But after being put on furlough last year, and then losing her job, she started to focus more on selling vintage clothing.

“I’d wanted to take it more seriously, and take it full time,” says Ms McTribouy, who lives in London. “It was the right time.”

She now sells about six items a week, many of which can fetch up to £150. “I live off this now,” she says.

“It hasn’t been an easy process though. People think you make money straight away, but I’d have months where I’d have to rely on my partner. But then others were, I’m like, ‘we’ve got extra income’.”

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image captionDepop, which was recently sold for $1.62bn, is mainly used by young adults

Ms McTribouy scouts charity shops, eBay and other vintage sellers for stock. “It’s not just selling – you can put your creativity into whether that’s the styling, or the background [you want an item of clothing to have].”

Depop reportedly now has more than 30 million global users, of which 90% are under 26. A UK business, it was bought last month by US ecommerce firm Etsy for $1.62bn (£1.2bn). Etsy’s chief executive Josh Silverman called Depop “the resale home for Gen-Z consumers”.

While selling second-hand goods online has surged over the past year, there also appears to have been a big rise in people giving away things via websites and apps since the pandemic.

Olio is a UK app that allows people to give away surplus food and household items to people living near them. It reported a six-fold increase in the number of non-food items added to the app since March 2020.

Tiphaine Berger, a 38-year-old IT worker from York, says she has seen this boom firsthand.

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“Before the pandemic there was just one other person in the area on Olio,” she says. “But it really boomed in the first lockdown because charity shops were closed. That was when people started donating, and getting rid of stuff.

image copyrightTiphaine Berger

image captionTiphaine Berger hunts for free things on the app Olio

“I use Olio because I hate waste. We de-cluttered and got ride of a lot of glasses and cups, then received plant pots, lamps, lights, picture frames, a new set of cushions.”

But has all this online selling and donating had a negative impact on the UK’s physical charity shops? Have they seen fewer donated items? Oxfam says that, thankfully, it has not, as many people still want to help good causes.

“All of our High Street shops were closed during lockdowns, and were not accepting donations,” says Lorna Fallon, Oxfam’s retail director. But the public has been really supportive and we have seen higher-than-average levels of donated goods since shops re-opened.

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“We also launched a successful, free postal donation service in March that allows supporters to donate items without visiting a shop. Our supporters know that when they donate items to an Oxfam shop they are helping people to escape poverty and survive humanitarian disasters.”

Mintel fashion analyst Tamara Sender says that the big increase in the buying and selling of second-hand clothing online has been led by young people who “in particular have suffered the financial consequences of the pandemic”, and thus “they have become thriftier”.

She adds that, pleasingly, charities are now increasingly being integrated into this new online world. “Depop has opened a British Heart Foundation online shop on its marketplace,” she says. “And [another second-hand clothing seller] Asos Marketplace has also added products from numerous charities to its site.

New Tech Economy is a series exploring how technological innovation is set to shape the new emerging economic landscape.

“As people increasingly buy second-hand fashion online, there is scope for more charity retailers to work with fashion brands to capitalise on the growing appetite for pre-loved fashion.”

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Cancer Research UK is one of the charities on Asos Marketplace. It also has collections on Depop, eBay, and Vestiare.

“Our online sales rose by 11% over the last year, and we’re expecting to increase our online income by £1.5m in the next two years,” says Josephine Mewett, head of retail operations at Cancer Research UK. “By donating pre-loved items and shopping with us, people are not only doing their bit for the environment, but also helping fund life-saving research to beat cancer.”

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Enabling developers to create innovative AIs on Messenger and WhatsApp





Every week over 1 billion people connect with businesses on our messaging apps. Many of these conversations are made possible by the thousands of developers who build innovative and engaging experiences on Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Since opening access to our Llama family of large language models, we’ve seen lots of momentum and innovation with more than 30 million downloads to date. As our messaging services continue to evolve, we believe the technology from Llama and other generative AI models have the potential to enhance business messaging through more natural, conversational experiences.

At Connect Meta announced that developers will be able to build third-party AIs – a term we use to refer to our generative AI-powered assistants – for our messaging services.

We’re making it easy for any developer to get started, so we’re simplifying the developer onboarding process and providing access to APIs for AIs that make it possible to build new conversational experiences within our messaging apps.

All developers will be able to access the new onboarding experience and features on Messenger in the coming weeks. For WhatsApp, we’ll be opening a Beta program in November – if you’re interested in participating please sign up to the waitlist here to learn more.

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We’ll keep everyone updated as we make these tools available to more developers later this year. We look forward to your feedback and seeing what you create.

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Introducing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0





Today, we are releasing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0. As part of this release, we are highlighting changes below that we believe are relevant to parts of our developer community. These changes include announcements, product updates, and notifications on deprecations that we believe are relevant to your application(s)’ integration with our platform.

For a complete list of all changes and their details, please visit our changelog.

General Updates

Consolidation of Audience Location Status Options for Location Targeting

As previously announced in May 2023, we have consolidated Audience Location Status to our current default option of “People living in or recently in this location” when choosing the type of audience to reach within their Location Targeting selections. This update reflects a consolidation of other previously available options and removal of our “People traveling in this location” option.

We are making this change as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver more value to businesses, simplify our ads system, and streamline our targeting options in order to increase performance efficiency and remove options that have low usage.

This update will apply to new or duplicated campaigns. Existing campaigns created prior to launch will not be entered in this new experience unless they are in draft mode or duplicated.

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Add “add_security_recommendation” and “code_expiration_minutes” to WA Message Templates API

Earlier this year, we released WhatsApp’s authentication solution which enabled creating and sending authentication templates with native buttons and preset authentication messages. With the release of Graph API v18, we’re making improvements to the retrieval of authentication templates, making the end-to-end authentication template process easier for BSPs and businesses.

With Graph API v18, BSPs and businesses can have better visibility into preset authentication message template content after creation. Specifically, payloads will return preset content configuration options, in addition to the text used by WhatsApp. This improvement can enable BSPs and businesses to build “edit” UIs for authentication templates that can be constructed on top of the API.

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Note that errors may occur when upgrading to Graph API v18 if BSPs or businesses are taking the entire response from the GET request and providing it back to the POST request to update templates. To resolve, the body/header/footer text fields should be dropped before passing back into the API.

Re-launching dev docs and changelogs for creating Call Ads

  • Facebook Reels Placement for Call Ads

    Meta is releasing the ability to deliver Call Ads through the Facebook Reels platform. Call ads allow users to call businesses in the moment of consideration when they view an ad, and help businesses drive more complex discussions with interested users. This is an opportunity for businesses to advertise with call ads based on peoples’ real-time behavior on Facebook. Under the Ad set Level within Ads Manager, businesses can choose to add “Facebook Reels” Under the Placements section.
  • Re-Launching Call Ads via API

    On September 12, 2023, we’re providing updated guidance on how to create Call Ads via the API. We are introducing documentation solely for Call Ads, so that 3P developers can more easily create Call Ads’ campaigns and know how to view insights about their ongoing call ad campaigns, including call-related metrics. In the future, we also plan to support Call Add-ons via our API platform. Developers should have access to the general permissions necessary to create general ads in order to create Call Ads via the API platform.

    Please refer to developer documentation for additional information.

Deprecations & Breaking Changes

Graph API changes for user granular permission feature

We are updating two graph API endpoints for WhatsAppBusinessAccount. These endpoints are as follows:

  • Retrieve message templates associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account
  • Retrieve phone numbers associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account

With v18, we are rolling out a new feature “user granular permission”. All existing users who are already added to WhatsAppBusinessAccount will be backfilled and will continue to have access (no impact).

The admin has the flexibility to change these permissions. If the admin changes the permission and removes access to view message templates or phone numbers for one of their users, that specific user will start getting an error message saying you do not have permission to view message templates or phone numbers on all versions v18 and older.

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Deprecate legacy metrics naming for IG Media and User Insights

Starting on September 12, Instagram will remove duplicative and legacy, insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API in order to share a single source of metrics to our developers.

This new upgrade reduces any confusion as well as increases the reliability and quality of our reporting.

After 90 days of this launch (i.e. December 11, 2023), we will remove all these duplicative and legacy insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API on all versions in order to be more consistent with the Instagram app.

We appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received from our developer community, and look forward to continuing to work together.

Please review the media insights and user insights developer documentation to learn more.

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Deprecate all Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 endpoints

Facebook Wi-Fi was designed to improve the experience of connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots at businesses. It allowed a merchant’s customers to get free Wi-Fi simply by checking in on Facebook. It also allowed merchants to control who could use their Wi-Fi and for how long, and integrated with ads to enable targeting to customers who had used the merchant’s Wi-Fi. This product was deprecated on June 12, 2023. As the partner notice period has ended, all endpoints used by Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 have been deprecated and removed.

API Version Deprecations:

As part of Facebook’s versioning schedule for Graph API and Marketing API, please note the upcoming deprecations:

Graph API

  • September 14, 2023: Graph API v11.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • February 8, 2024: Graph API v12.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • May 28, 2024: Graph API v13.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform

Marketing API

  • September 20, 2023: Marketing API v14.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • September 20, 2023: Marketing API v15.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • February 06, 2024: Marketing API v16.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform

To avoid disruption to your business, we recommend migrating all calls to the latest API version that launched today.

Facebook Platform SDK

As part of our 2-year deprecation schedule for Platform SDKs, please note the upcoming deprecations and sunsets:

  • October 2023: Facebook Platform SDK v11.0 or below will be sunset
  • February 2024: Facebook Platform SDK v12.0 or below will be sunset

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Allowing Users to Promote Stories as Ads (via Marketing API)





Before today (August 28, 2023), advertisers could not promote images and/or videos used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API. This process created unwanted friction for our partners and their customers.

After consistently hearing about this pain point from our developer community, we have removed this unwanted friction for advertisers and now allow users to seamlessly promote their image and/or video media used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API as of August 28, 2023.

We appreciate all the feedback received from our developer community, and hope to continue improving your experience.

Please review the developer documentation to learn more.

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