Meta have failed to act after dangerous and non-compliant electrical products were discovered for sale via its Facebook Marketplace.
An investigation by Electrical Safety First flagged nearly 60 listings of electrical goods for sale on the social media giant’s marketplace that pose a serious risk to the buyer or were non-compliant with basic product standards.
However, on alerting Meta to its findings, along with recommendations that it take urgent action, the charity received no response and product listings highlighted as dangerous or non-compliant were not removed for sale, continuing to put the public at risk.
Products identified by the charity included beauty appliances with EU plugs sold with unsafe adaptors, risking fire. Other listings included hoverboards with illegal ‘clover shaped’ plugs risking electric shock, whilst counterfeit phone chargers, e-scooters sold with EU plugs and travel adaptors posing a serious risk of electric shock were also flagged.
The charity has escalated the issue to the Office for Product Safety and Standards after requests to Meta to review and remove dangerous product listings have gone ignored.
As part of a wider investigation into online marketplaces and dangerous goods, the charity also flagged dangerous electrical products to eBay, who swiftly removed the listings from its platform.
Due to lack of regulation, online marketplaces, such as Facebook, Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish, are not responsible for the products sold via their platforms. Electrical Safety First is calling for urgent changes to the law to address this ‘wild west’ of highly dangerous goods being sold via online marketplaces.
Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First commented: “It is hugely disappointing that Meta has failed to respond to the findings of the charity. The inaction shown by Meta clearly demonstrates that self-regulation is not a reliable solution to the problem and we must now bring forward urgent changes to the law to ensure online marketplaces are responsible for the products sold via their site. Without this purchasers remain at risk.”
Notes to editor:
- Electrical Safety First is a UK based charity dedicated to reducing injuries and deaths caused by electricity in the home.
- An investigation by Electrical Safety First looked at visual flaws of electrical product listings across both Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
- 30 product listings were identified as being dangerous and/or non-compliant on eBay.co.uk.
- 58 product listings were identified as being dangerous and/or non-compliant on Facebook Marketplace.
- The charity submitted its findings to Meta, including a request for the products to be reviewed and removed for sale on 27th May 2022 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow up emails were sent on both 30th May 2022 and 31st May 2022. The charity received no confirmation of receipt or confirmation that the product listings flagged to Meta were being reviewed.
- The charity also emailed email@example.com (an address not publicly published) in a follow up email to request a comment on deadline but received no response
- The charity submitted its findings to eBay who immediately confirmed receipt of the report and swiftly reviewed and removed the listings flagged by the charity.
Right of replies:
An eBay spokesperson said:
“We welcome the information provided to us by Electrical Safety First and we have removed these items. We take product safety extremely seriously and our close working relationships with stakeholders, including the Office for Product Safety and Standards and Trading Standards, are an important part of our global product safety strategy for keeping our platform safe. Our Regulatory Portal enables authorities from around the world to remove listings of unsafe products within two hours and as of today, 182 agencies have been onboarded, and more than 32,000 listings removed.
“We also have automatic block filters in place, aimed at preventing unsafe listings. These filters blocked 7.4 million listings in 2021 and are updated on a regular basis. On the rare occasion that an unsafe product does make it onto site, we swiftly remove it and take enforcement action against the seller, which can be in the form of a warning, suspension or ban.”