Facebook has successfully connected people around the world, according tomedia. As the largest social network on the planet, this is obviously its goal, but it also has some very serious unintended consequences. Facebook has recently been forced to crack down on wildlife trafficking and trafficking on its platform, a market that is largely under the radar.
While Facebook’s rules prohibit such sales, that hasn’t stopped sellers from doing so. The latest crackdown has focused on wildlife from Southeast Asia, where wild cats, primates and even carnivorous birds have found willing buyers.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has carefully investigated the illegal wildlife trade on Facebook and found more than 2,000 posts selling wildlife involving nearly 100 species of wildlife, all of which are only from Myanmar. Almost all of the animals are still alive, and many of the sales posts come in the form of groups specializing in wildlife trading.
After it was reported to Facebook, the company cracked down on these illegal sellers and the groups they were hiding in. From April to July, more than 500 posts and groups were deleted on the platform. Unfortunately, it’s easy for people to set up private groups on Facebook, and it’s likely that many illegal animal dealers started working on Facebook shortly after they were first “captured.”
A Facebook spokesman said in a statement: “We are committed to working with law enforcement around the world to help combat the illegal trade in wildlife. “
This may be true, but Facebook’s size and ease of use make it almost impossible to outlaw the illegal animal trade altogether. Many of the groups that were removed from Facebook after being tagged by WWF have thousands of members, and these people are unlikely to give up and quit their illegal activities.