Facebook makes an attempt to stop the illegal sale of Amazon rainforest

Facebook makes an attempt to stop the illegal sale of Amazon rainforest

To prove that the ads were real, BBC arranged meetings between four sellers and an undercover operative posing as a lawyer.

Facebook has said that it will begin clamping down on the illegal sale of protected areas of the Amazon rainforest on its site. The new measures will only apply to conservation areas and not to publicly owned forest land. Also, the move is only limited to Amazon, not any other rainforest.

A recent study from the think tank Ipam (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambental da Amazonia) says that a third of all deforestation happens in publicly-owned forests in the Amazon.

Facebook said that it would not reveal how it planned to find the illegal ads but said it would "seek to identify and block new listings" in protected areas of the Amazon rainforest.

The policy was changed after a BBC investigation into the practice.

In February, the BBC's documentary 'Selling the Amazon' revealed that plots of the rainforest were being listed on Facebook's classified ads service.

Also, many of these plots were inside protected areas, including national forests and land reserved for indigenous peoples.

To prove that the ads were real, BBC arranged meetings between four sellers and an undercover operative posing as a lawyer. He claimed to represent wealthy investors.

One land-grabber, Alvim Souza Alves, was trying to sell a plot inside the Uru Eu Wau Wau indigenous reserve for about £16,400 in local currency.

Facebook makes an attempt to stop the illegal sale of Amazon rainforest
What if the luscious Amazon rainforest was lost forever?

As a response, Brazil's Supreme Federal Court ordered an inquiry into the sale of protected areas of the Amazon through Facebook.

Facebook has said that it has consulted the UN Environment Programme (Unep) and other organisations to take its "first steps" in trying to address the issue.

BBC quoted Facebook as saying, "We will now review listings on Facebook Marketplace against an international organisation's authoritative database of protected areas to identify listings that may violate this new policy."

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