Facebook Marketplace Does Little To Stop the Sale of Brazilian Amazon Rainforest

Read more

It would appear that you can purchase just about anything on Facebook Marketplace. Shoppers can find anything from a new-ish dining room table, a bigger television for the guest bedroom, and even parts of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. More precisely parts of protected rainforest and even some that is home to many indigenous people. And people, we aren’t talking about a handful of acres, some plots can be as large as 1,000 soccer fields.

As surprising as all this may be, it’s not surprising that the social media titan is taking a hands off approach to stopping this practice.

Facebook is a business and as such it’s primary goal is to make money. And, as one might imagine, Facebook Marketplace is a big money generator. With money being the primary goal the social media company is instead looking to local authorities to help curb the problem. A quick search for ‘forest’ and ‘land’ with a location in Brazil yields a surprising number of results.

The company recently told the BBC that they are “ready to work with local authorities” and added that “our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations.”

Fair enough. So, how about that government? It’s widely believed that the administration of the area is less than interested in protecting the natural resource. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is known to favor profits over protection. Bolsonaro rejects the science world’s consensus on climate change and has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

If this sounds outrageous to you, it gets worse. It’s been reported that many of the areas that are sold or up for sale are from sellers who do not possess a land title. The people in the area refer to such sellers as “land invaders.”

With very little help and support from their government, residents feel they–and the forest–are at a loss. Deforestation is at a 10-year high in the Brazilion Amazon and the Marketplace at Facebook has been a popular spot for those wanting to purchase a piece of the land.