Parts of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are illegally listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace, UK Public Broadcaster has BBC discovered. Facebook says it will not take independent action to stop trading through its platform.
The pieces of protected rainforest for sale include national parks and habitats of the indigenous peoples. Some of the plots of land offered through Facebook’s sales service are hundreds of football fields in size.
Any Facebook user can find the illegal ads by entering the Portuguese words for “forest”, “jungle” and “wood” in the search function and selecting the Amazon states as the search area.
Some advertisements show satellite images and GPS coordinates of the rainforest areas on offer. Some sellers frankly admit that they are not the rightful owners of the plots of land on offer.
‘Land thieves encouraged by government’
The indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest and activists feel powerless. The latter say that the Brazilian government under the right-wing populist president Jair Bolsonaro does not want to take any action to protect the rainforest. “The land thieves are so encouraged that they are not even ashamed to make their land deals on Facebook,” said the head of a Brazilian environmental organization.
Facebook said in a response that the company “is willing to cooperate with local authorities,” but will not take any action of its own accord. “Our commercial policy requires buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations,” said the US tech company.