Facebook is launching its own free-to-use classified-ads platform for buying and selling goods locally, although it won't interfere with independent buying and selling groups already set up on the site.

The social media giant's new 'Marketplace' service is for anyone aged 18 or over and will be accessible via an update to the Facebook iOS and Android apps in the coming days.

The new service will initially be available in the UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, with other countries being added and a desktop version arriving "in the coming months". Facebook launched a similar, now-defunct classified-ads service on desktop in 2007.

Facebook has confirmed that independent buying and selling groups, which it claims are used by more than 450 million people a month, will continue to operate as normal alongside Marketplace.

Check out our Facebook Selling Tips guide for more on how buying and selling groups work.

How does Marketplace work?

Geared towards buying and selling within local communities, Marketplace operates primarily by location (similar to Gumtree, for example).

Here's how it works for buyers and sellers:

  • If you're looking to buy goods – you'll be shown classified ads posted by sellers in your area, with additional options to filter by price, category and location (which you can change).

    When you find something you like the look of, you'll be able to see a product description and photos, as well as the name and location of the seller.

    If you decide you're interested, you can directly message a seller and talk more about the sale. Facebook will not be involved in the payment or delivery process of goods, so that'll be left down to you and the seller.

  • If you're looking to sell goods – you'll be able to post items for sale directly from the app by uploading a photo of the item, entering a product name, description, price, and confirming your location.

    When posting an item on Marketplace you'll also be able to put it on a separate, specific buy and sell group at the same time. Facebook won't be charging for items listed on Marketplace (for now, at least).

An additional feature for buyers and sellers is that you'll be able to keep track of items you've browsed and saved, items you've posted for sale, and conversations between yourself and other buyers or sellers.

For a more detailed breakdown of how Marketplace will work, including screenshots and a demo video, see the Facebook newsroom website.