Facebook product exec Chris Cox says that Facebook has become “like Craiglist” for people in Indonesia.
While speaking on stage at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference, Cox explained that people there use Facebook Groups as a way to sell goods to each other, including baby clothes and spare automotive parts.
That kind of person-to-person commerce was never Facebook’s intention with Groups, he said, but once Facebook realised that it was happening, it’s tried to think of ways to make that experience easier.
“When we see emergent behaviour like this, it almost always suggests something to us that we could do better,” Cox said.
Although Cox didn’t say it directly, observations like this likely influenced its recent ecommerce initiatives, like revamped Pages and its plans to create a new, general “Shopping” section that will curate different relevant products in one place for each Facebook user.
The items that appear will be based on which Pages the users have liked, as well as, potentially, content being sold in Facebook Groups that they’re part.
Facebook commerce is a huge opportunity for the company. The company’s intitial efforts several years ago flopped, in part because people compared to shopping on Facebook to pushing commerce into a bar environment, but Cox’s comments on Facebook commerce in Indonesia indicate that its trying to be much more deliberate with feature roll-outs this time around.
“This example in Indonesia is the most interesting behaviour that’s going on in commerce on Facebook,” Cox says. “People are really connecting with each other to exchange things.”