Parts of Amazon belonging to indigenous tribes being ‘sold on Facebook’

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People are flogging protected areas of the Amazon rainforest on Facebook market place, it has been reported.

Protected plots as large as 1,000 football pitches are being flogged on the social network's classified ads service. The areas include national forests and land reserved for indigenous peoples.

Facebook said it was "ready to work with local authorities", adding: "Our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations."

The leader of one of the indigenous communities affected has urged the tech firm to do more, while campaigners have claimed Brazil's government is unwilling to halt the shocking sales.

Ivaneide Bandeira, head of environmental campaigners Kanindé, said: "The land invaders feel very empowered to the point that they are not ashamed of going on Facebook to make illegal land deals."

Anyone can find the illegally invaded plots by typing the Portuguese equivalents of terms such as "forest", "native jungle" and "timber" into Facebook Marketplace, the BBC reports.

Then interested parties can select one of the Amazonian states as the location to narrow the search down, while some of the listings feature satellite images and GPS co-ordinates.

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Many of the online sellers openly admit they do not have a land title, the only document proving ownership of a plot of land under Brazilian law.

The illegal activity is being fuelled by Brazil's cattle ranching industry.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is at a 10-year high, and Facebook's Marketplace has become a go-to site for sellers.

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One, named Fabricio Guimarães, was filmed using a hidden camera. He said: "There's no risk of an inspection by state agents here.

Many of the ads came from Rondônia, the most deforested state in Brazil's rainforest region.

One man called Alvim Souza Alves was trying to sell a plot inside the Uru Eu Wau Wau indigenous reserve for about £16,400.

The Uru Eu Wau Wau people are trying to protect their land from invaders. They number more than 200 at the last count while at least five further groups that have had no contact with the outside world also live there, according to the Brazilian government.

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