The BBC has discovered that part of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest – including national forests and land reserved for indigenous people – is being sold illegally on Facebook. Some of the plots listed on the advertisements are as large as 1000 football pitches.
Facebook has said it is willing to work with local authorities on the matter, but will not take any independent action over the illegal advertisements. The leader of one of the indigenous populations has urged the tech giant do to more, whilst campaigners have claimed that Brazil’s government is unwilling to halt the illegal trade.
Anyone can find the illegally invaded plots by typing the Portuguese equivalents for search terms like “forest”, “native jungle” and “timber” into Facebook Marketplace’s search tool, and picking one of the Amazonian states as the location.
Many of the sellers openly admit they do not have a land title, the only document which proves ownership of land under Brazilian law. The illegal activity is being fuelled by Brazil’s cattle ranching industry.
Deforestation in the Amazon is at a ten-year high.
Commenting on the matter, Luke said:
“The Amazon is our planet’s green lung and it’s vital we protect it from destruction. Social media companies have a moral duty to ensure their operations are not enabling deforestation and illegal sales of forest.
“The Government must urgently act to make sure that UK companies do not trade on the back of rainforest destruction.”