Facebook decides to stop the illegal sale of Amazon rainforest lands on Marketplace

Facebook decides to stop the illegal sale of Amazon rainforest lands on Marketplace

After eight months ago the problem came to light with an investigation by the BBC, the social network moves to try to curb the traffic on its ecommerce area

Photo: via Unsplash Perhaps not many will know but on the Facebook Marketplace it is possible to come across ads selling protected areas such as those of the Amazon rainforest, already threatened by livestock industries, illegal logging and mining. This was discovered in February by an investigation by the BBC. But now Facebook, overwhelmed in recent weeks by scandals and accusations with little precedent, is trying to run for cover to stop these sales.

After months in which the problem has not been addressed, the company of Mark Zuckerberg has announced that it has changed its commercial policies to explicitly prohibit the sale of protected areas on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. "Ads cannot promote the purchase or sale of animals or animal products, or land in ecological conservation areas", reads the updated policy. Stopping sales is "the first step Facebook is taking to tackle this problem," the company said.

Facebook also wrote that it will now "review offers" before they appear on Marketplace. The company said it will compare them with a reliable database of protected areas from an international organization in order to track down sales announcements of areas that are "essential for the conservation of habitats and ecosystems". Protected areas such as the Amazon rainforest are very important to our ecosystem because they absorb carbon dioxide emissions and maintain biodiversity, but they have been under attack for years due to speculation, especially in Brazil.

The BBC has discovered that large plots of land in the Amazon rainforest have been sold on the Marketplace, often without any type of certification. Some of the lots sold were as long as "a thousand football fields", according to the British broadcaster. When the BBC asked Facebook what it would do to stop these transactions, the social network said it would not move unless these sellers violated local laws. That Facebook changed its mind eight months later can only be good news, although doubts remain about the actual application of the new guidelines.

Gizmodo points out that Facebook's new position on protected land sales "It's just another ban added to the growing list of things sold through its platform that the company is trying (and sometimes failing) to eliminate." As evidenced by a recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal and earlier by independent organizations, Facebook and Instagram are still used in many countries for the sale of drugs and weapons, as well as rare animals and stolen antiquities.

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