Facebook Tackles Illegal Sales of Amazon Rainforest Land on Its Platform | Smart News
Last week, social media company Facebook announced that it would take action to end illegal sales of Amazon rainforest land on its platform, Joao Fellet and Charlotte Pemment report for BBC News.
The revelation that these sales were taking place on Facebook is the result of a BBC News investigation published in February. BBC News discovered that plots of the Brazilian Amazon were being sold through the social media platform’s classifieds and that many of these lands were protected and included national forests as well as areas reserved for the indigenous peoples of the region. region.
Facebook initially said it was “ready to work with local authorities” without indicating that it would take matters into its own hands. The tech company announced its new policy to tackle illegal sales in a blog post last Friday.
“Today, we are announcing measures to curb attempts to sell land in the Amazon Rainforest Ecological Conservation Areas on Facebook Marketplace,” the company wrote in the post. “We are updating our trade policies to explicitly prohibit the purchase or sale of land of any type in ecological conservation areas on our trade products on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.”
The policy update involves looking at listings that appear on Facebook Marketplace by comparing them to an international database of protected areas maintained by the World Conservation Monitoring Center of the United Nations Environment Program, according to BBC News. .
Facebook’s move comes as threats to the Brazilian Amazon from logging and land clearing appear to be growing. Deforestation in the country’s rainforests, which make up 60% of the Amazon, is at its highest level in 12 years, and recent reports from Reuters indicate that satellite data suggests that September saw a slight increase in deforestation. compared to last year, with around 280 square miles of forest being lacerated or burnt.
Meanwhile, the social media giant has come under heavy criticism following leaked searches, whistleblower testimonials and a major outage, according to the EdgeIt’s Ian Carlos Campbell.
Some have questioned whether Facebook’s new policy would be an effective tool to curb the sale of protected land. Brenda Brito, a Brazilian lawyer and environmental scientist at Stanford, told BBC News that Facebook does not require sellers to provide the exact location of the land they are selling. “If they don’t force sellers to provide the location of the area for sale, any attempt to block them will be wrong,” Brito said.
Still, environmentalists see the announcement as a step in the right direction. Ivaneide Bandeira of environmental group Kandide told BBC News the announcement was “a good thing … even if it comes late”.