If you’re looking for an online version of a yard sale, chances are Facebook Marketplace has been your go-to hub in recent years. But there’s some growing competition on the block: Nextdoor. Both platforms are popular, localised alternatives to marketplaces like Craigslist or eBay, which have a wider reach but are notoriously, well, sketchy. If you’re going to get ripped off from an online purchase, it might as well be someone who lives right around the corner, right?
Before diving into the subtle differences between Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor, let’s kick things off with everyone’s favourite: broad editorial disclaimers.
Both platforms are problematic
I’m not a fan of Nextdoor due to its reputation for turning neighbourhoods into a surveillance state for some the most unhinged, often very racist people. If you’re unfamiliar with this reputation, peruse the “Best of Nextdoor” Twitter and Instagram for a sampling of what sort of people like to post on that platform.
I’m also not a fan of Facebook. Or Meta. Have we officially switched to calling it Meta? Whatever its name, I’m not about to throw my support behind an evil conglomerate that refuses to take accountability for its role in corroding our democracy.
With that off my conscience: Sometimes you need a reliable place to buy or sell an old bike with your neighbours. Nextdoor and Facebook are two of your best hubs to do so. Which one is right for you?
Perks that both Facebook and Nextdoor offer
When it comes to the basics of buying and selling, the two apps have a lot in common:
- They’re optimised for mobile, making it quick and easy to snap a picture of your item and post it into the marketplace newsfeed.
- The buyer and seller facilitate pickup and payment; there’s no in-app payment system.
- Your marketplace newsfeed is based on your geographic location.
While Facebook and Nextdoor offer a similar buying and selling experience, below are the key differences between the two platforms.
Facebook Marketplace: You have a wider reach
Without getting into each company’s internal data, it’s safe to say that Facebook has a much wider reach than Nextdoor. If you’re unsure how active your neighbours are on the Nextdoor app, then Facebook is a safer bet for finding buyers and sellers. Compared to Nextdoor, you have the ability to reach more people in a wider geographic area.
Another perk is that you likely already have the Facebook app, so you don’t need to go to the trouble of signing up for a new platform.
Nextdoor: Safety and community is your top priority
The major difference between Facebook and Nextdoor is the fact that Nextdoor bills itself around neighbourhood safety and security, and therefore vets the identity of its users more thoroughly.
Another perk for sellers is that Nextdoor integrates your items for sale along with other types of updates in people’s newsfeeds. This means that a neighbour who logged in to check for road closures and crime updates might also happen upon your latest “for sale” listing.
Again, Nextdoor’s reputation for “crime updates” is also the root for its reputation as a hub for gossip and general Karen-like behaviour. Compared to Facebook, your Nextdoor experience heavily depends on where you live.
Reminders for buying and selling online
Whichever app is the one for you, keep in mind some basic safety tips for any online marketplace:
- Never give out personal information like your phone number or email address. Instead, keep all communication in-app.
- Do not accept personal checks or money orders, which can be cancelled before you cash them in.
- If you need to ship an expensive item, request “proof of delivery” from the shipping company.
- Always meet in a public place. If you’re having doubts, bring a friend to the agreed meeting point.
Luckily, both platforms come with a greater sense of security than the Craiglist days of yore.