announced Facebook Inc. is changing its commercial policies to explicitly prohibit the sale of protected land across its various platforms. It comes after the BBC discovered that parts of the Brazilian Amazon are being sold illegally via Facebook’s marketplace.
Selling land in ecological protection zones is usually illegal and can have negative effects on the flora, fauna and people who live there.
Protected areas include national forests and lands reserved for indigenous peoples. And the area of some of the plots listed through the classified ads service within the platform reaches 1,000 football fields.
The BBC conducted an investigation in February into the market. She found people illegally selling large plots of land in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest through the market.
Plots of land were frequently sold without official title indicating ownership, prompted by deforestation in the Amazon due to the Brazilian cattle industry.
Anyone could find illegally expropriated plots of land by typing their Portuguese equivalents for search terms such as “jungle,” “native jungle” and “timber” into the market search tool, and choosing an Amazonian state as a location.
Some listings contain satellite images and GPS coordinates. Many sellers openly admit that they do not have title to the land. It is the only document that proves land ownership under Brazilian law.
Many of the announcements came from Rondônia, the most deforested state in Brazil’s rainforest region. There have been attempts to sell a plot of land within the Uru Eu Wau Wau Indigenous Reserve, which is home to a community of more than 200 people.
According to the Brazilian government, there are also at least five other groups that have had no contact with the outside world.
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Facebook takes a tougher stance
The social network did not want to stop the illegal sale of land in the Amazon independently at first. This is because trade policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations, the company said in February.
She made it clear in February that she was ready to work with local authorities. However, it indicated that it would not take independent action on its part to stop this trade.
The leader of one affected indigenous community urged the tech company to do more. Activists claimed that the country’s government is not ready to stop sales.
Several months later, Facebook takes a tougher stance. Its updated policies state that listings may not promote the purchase or sale of animals, animal products, or land in conservation areas.
The company also plans to review the listings against a database of protected lands to identify anyone violating its policy. Protected areas are essential to preserving habitats and ecosystems and are essential to addressing the global nature crisis.
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