The Amazon is sold through Facebook: illegal ads with land to deforest up to 1,000 soccer fields
Big Amazon parcels are being sold illegally in Brazil through Facebook Marketplace. A full BBC investigation has revealed how Facebook’s second-hand sales platform is being used by sellers to obtain large profits from land that does not belong to them.
These lands, in the hands of indigenous communities, are openly sold before the passivity of the authorities. According to the BBC, they found sales of plots with sizes of up to 1,000 football fields. Huge land sold to justify illegal deforestation that affects everyone.
Selling land without papers for $ 35,000
The illegal advertisements discovered by the BBC are mostly located in the Brazilian region of Rondônia, where the British media sent several reporters to meet locally with some of those involved.
With a quick search on Facebook Marketplace it is possible to find numerous announcements of land sales, some of them large and with descriptions that directly invite you to take advantage of them to obtain wood. Through searches like “forest”, “native jungle” or “wood” in Portuguese it is possible to find them.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 26, 2021
Among the people contacted is Fabricio Guimarães, who was secretly recorded by the BBC and assured that he was selling a piece of land for $ 35,000. A middle class person in the city who viewed the rainforest simply as an investment opportunity.
Another of the investigated ads was trying to sell a land within the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau indigenous reserve for about 19,000 euros in local currency.
Facebook’s position is that they cannot stop the sale itself, but they do claim that “they will work with local authorities” on the matter. “Our business policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations when buying and selling on the Marketplace. We are willing to work with local authorities on any of the issues raised in the BBC reports,” they explain from Facebook in response to Engadget.
Determining which land can be marketed requires a complex analysis and it is normally the responsibility of the Judiciary to adopt the necessary measures. Therefore, from Facebook they prefer not to intervene and put themselves in the hands of Justice. If required, the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Federal Police of Brazil could contact Facebook and this would provide the necessary data to monitor the ads and request their withdrawal.
Ivaneide Bandeira, director of the environmental NGO Kanindé, points out that “land invaders feel very safe, to the point that they are not ashamed to enter Facebook to do illegal land deals.” The usual tactic of those who deforest illegally is to do so and subsequently try to convince politicians that repeal the special protection of those lands because they no longer serve their original purpose.
The Brazilian Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, explains to the BBC that the application of the Amazon law has been reduced due to the pandemic but that this year, with the Green Brazil 2 operation, they want to strengthen control over illegal deforestation and the fires. Following the report, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil has ordered an investigation on the sale of protected areas.
More information | BBC