After users were found selling pieces of Amazon rainforest land on Facebook Marketplace, the company is now taking steps to prevent this from happening again in the future. Facebook Marketplace typically gives users the opportunity to do business on a wide range of items, from cars to furniture and homes for sale or rent. However, it seems that having so many options allowed was not enough for certain enterprising Facebook users.
The social media giant has had enough to deal with lately, with an hour-long outage hitting not only Facebook, but Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger as well. In addition to the outage, after leaking crucial inside information, a whistleblower revealed his identity and explained in a 60-minute interview that Facebook repeatedly chose what was best for the company over the public interest.
the BBC first reported on the problem in February, describing some of the land for sale as equivalent in size to “1,000 football fields.” According to the BBC, finding graphics was as simple as looking up related words in the Marketplace search bar. At the time, Facebook noted that it was working with authorities in Brazil, but seemed to suggest that it would not be taking any action on its own. However, Facebook has since said that it is now starting to compare the Marketplace listings to an “official database of protected areas” from an international organization. We hope that the updated trade policies will prevent anyone from buying or selling land that is in an ecological conservation area in the future. Facebook also explained that it will work with sustainability authorities to address the issue across all of its apps to prevent a recurrence.
Facebook said in February that the issue should be left to local authorities and that the issue was too complex to resolve on its own. But with the policy change and the use of the new database comparison, Facebook has shown that it is fully capable of working with the necessary organizations to try to prevent this from happening.
Environmental protection is a crucial issue that should concern everyone, especially large companies like Facebook, whose influence and power can make a difference. Apple has previously highlighted that tech companies can have an impact when they choose to remove the iPhone charger from the box. The move reduced transport emissions and minimized the amount of materials extracted from the earth. Hopefully, Facebook finally working hard to curb the sale of land in the Amazon rainforest will help protect this important ecosystem.