Facebook's online marketplace is filled with recalled and banned products, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
On Wednesday, Alex Hoehn-Saric, Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), published a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook's parent company Meta, urging them to “strengthen efforts to prevent the posting of banned and recalled consumer products for sale on Meta platforms, including Facebook Marketplace.”
Hoehn-Saric wrote that the number of banned and recalled products for sale on Facebook Marketplace has increased significantly over the past several years.
The agency has found that the consumer products which are appearing frequently on the site, constitute a “serious threat to the health and lives of consumers, including infants and toddlers.”
“While Facebook Marketplace currently has policies to stop controlled substances, counterfeit goods and other illegal products from being listed, they are being widely circumvented or ignored with respect to products under the jurisdiction of the CPSC,” said Hoehn in his letter to Zuckerberg published on Wednesday.
In a statement provided to Spectrum News, Meta stated that they are heavily invested in their approach to safety and have over “40,000 people across Meta working on safety and security, which includes teams proactively enforcing our commerce policies that prohibit the sale of recalled goods.”
“We take this issue seriously and when we find listings that violate our rules, we remove them,” added the Meta spokesperson.
Earlier this year, Members of Congress sent a letter to Zuckerberg, calling on Meta to ensure that deadly recalled products are not listed and sold on Facebook Marketplace.
Representative Jan Schakowsky D-Ill., Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, along with Senator Richard Blumenthal D-Conn., pointed to an investigation that took place last year conducted by USA TODAY which found that deadly recalled children’s products are frequently found and sold on Facebook Marketplace.
USA TODAY found listings on Marketplace spanning 14 different recalled products that had contributed to the deaths of at least 121 children and hundreds of incidents and injuries.
3 out of 4 of the recalled items found by USA TODAY in 2021 were listed using their brand name or a slight variation of it and dozens of the products were marked as sold.
One product, the Rock n’ Play Sleeper, recalled in 2019, has been linked to the death of nearly 100 infants with at least 8 deaths occurring after the product was recalled.
“Meta has a moral obligation to its users to prevent, monitor, and remove these dangerous listings from its platform, and make it easier for users to do the same,” wrote Blumenthal and Schakowsky in the letter to Zuckerberg from March 2022. “Meta’s continued failure to do so indicates a remarkable dereliction of duty by your company on behalf of your users.”
The lawmakers called on Meta to implement a tool allowing users to report a recalled product and to automatically restrict the sale of recalled goods as it does with firearms.