Facebook is updating policy to stop Amazon rainforest land sale on its Marketplace

Acceding to the latest news, some people have tried to sell land in the Amazon rainforest on Marketplace. Selling lands located in ecological conservation areas are typically illegal and can have negative impacts on the flora, fauna, and the overall ecosystem last Friday,  Facebook announced that it is changing its commerce policies to explicitly prohibit this kind of protected land sale on Facebook and its other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.

This announcement comes after a February BBC investigation into its Marketplace found people illegally sold large plots of land in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest on Facebook. BBC found the plots were frequently sold without an official land title designating ownership driven by the deforestation of the Amazon caused by the Brazilian cattle industry.

Facebook didn’t want to independently stop the illegal sale of land in the Amazon initially because Facebook’s “commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations”; this is what the company told BBC in February. Now, Facebook is taking a harder stance. Its newly updated policy reads “Listings may not promote the buying or selling of animals or animal products, or land in ecological conservation areas.” The company also plans to cross-reference listings against a database of protected land to identify anyone violating the policy.

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This move is an appreciable one good one. However, the timing of this announcement and action makes things look strange because, in the last few weeks, Facebook’s dealt with leaked research, a whistle blower, and a major global outage so there remains a question whether these steps were ultimately taken to cleanse corporate image.

Frankly, considering the latest flow of news about Facebook, stopping the sale of the Amazon rainforest is just a strange cherry.

Michael Turner
Michael Turner is an environmental activist with broad, deep experience in print and online writing, publication and site management, news coverage, and editorial team management.