Photo: Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

Photo: Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

Facebook Marketplace, over the past few years, has taken the vehicle-classifieds crown from Craigslist. It did so almost by accident; Facebook spun up Marketplace just as Craigslist instituted a fee for selling cars on its platform. Now, it seems new rules from Meta aim to get in on that cash — but only for dealers.

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Early this year, according to Automotive News, Meta changed the rules around Facebook Marketplace listings. Now, Facebook business pages can no longer post Marketplace ads for vehicles. Instead, they’ll have to purchase ad space within the Marketplace storefront, and hope that their ads come up under relevant searches.

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Automotive News spoke to a few dealerships about the changeover and found a mix of responses. Some, it seems, are buying into the revised ecosystem — actually spending on ads to be displayed inline with Marketplace results. Others are paring back their presence on the platform, claiming that Facebook simply doesn’t drive enough customers in the door to be worth the new cost.

Of course, there’s a third option, one that isn’t covered by Automotive News but can be seen by anyone browsing the Marketplace: Having dealership employees post listings from their personal accounts. This seems, anecdotally, to be coming more from small-time dealerships; I see it more in my own personal Tenere 700 shopping, where tiny powersports dealers often show up on the results, than any browsing I do for Dopest Cars.

Dealerships that stick to the spirit of Meta’s new law, however, are stuck paying advertising prices for a service that once was free. Will that make Marketplace a bastion of FSBO deals, or will a new marketplace spring up as Facebook did in Craigslist’s decline?

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