Facebook is cracking down on the ability of people to use its e-commerce platforms to sell large parcels of land in the protected Amazon rainforest.
“Today, we are announcing measures to curb attempts to sell land in ecological conservation areas within the Amazon rainforest on Facebook (FB) Marketplace,” the company said in a blog post Friday, adding that it will update its commerce policies to “explicitly prohibit” the sale or purchase of land on its platforms (including Instagram and WhatsApp) that is earmarked for ecological conservation. Land is among the many products available on Marketplace, with everything from furniture to used cars also on sale.
The announcement comes months after an investigation by the BBC found large parcels of land, including some that cover hundreds of acres within national forests, available for purchase on Facebook Marketplace. CNN has not independently verified the Marketplace listings. Facebook said Friday that it will check listings against an “authoritative database of protected areas” from the United Nations Environment Program to confirm whether they violate its new policy.
“We are announcing this today, and enforcement will now begin to ramp up,” the company said. “Over time, we will observe how this process works and make improvements as appropriate.” The announcement comes at the end of a particularly difficult week for Facebook, with the company facing intense scrutiny from lawmakers after whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony in the Senate about the harms its platforms cause and a massive outage of its major services on Monday.