Facebook: Prevent Illegal Sale of Endangered Species

Target: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Goal: Stop advertising on the pages of wildlife traffickers in Thailand, and immediately remove these groups, pages, and users and report them to authorities.

Facebook has allegedly been profiting off of illegal wildlife traffickers selling animal parts such as elephant ivory, tiger teeth, and rhinoceros horns by selling ads on their pages. TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, claims to have discovered over 1,500 live and dead animals for sale via Facebook groups in Thailand, many of which are endangered species. The most common animal allegedly for sale online in these groups is the Sunda slow loris, illegally sold for exploitative tourist photo ops or as a pet. The slow loris and most of the other animals allegedly discovered for sale alongside it are prohibited from international trade. Many of the animals sold via these alleged trafficking groups—like the helmeted hornbill and Siamese crocodile—are so critically endangered that removing even one of them from the wild could result in the extinction of the entire species.

Facebook’s policy forbids selling any animals or animal parts on its platform, and the company says that it removes any groups that it identifies as engaging in these illicit activities. However, according to an undercover whistleblower and a complaint filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this year, Facebook has violated these responsibilities. TRAFFIC’s discovery of the alleged 200 species for sale via Thai Facebook groups was initially made during the course of an investigation in 2016. But despite the company’s statement that it is “committed to working with TRAFFIC to help tackle the illegal online trade of wildlife,” memberships in these groups have nearly doubled in the past two years. Additionally, as Gretchen Peters, executive director of the Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime states, “I have looked at thousands of posts containing ivory, and I am convinced that Facebook is literally facilitating the extinction of the elephant species.” It is clear that Facebook is not doing its part to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, and is even allegedly complicit in it. Sign below to demand that Facebook stop advertising on these pages, shut down these wildlife trafficking groups immediately, and report these criminals to authorities.


Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Facebook has stated its commitment to animal welfare and to combating the illegal trafficking of wild animals, and yet TRAFFIC has allegedly found hundreds of species—many of which are endangered—for sale on Facebook groups in Thailand. Additionally, Facebook has allegedly sold ads on these pages, implying that your company is not only enabling this cruelty, but profiting from it. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The sale of wild animals and their parts is inhumane and dangerous: it threatens not only the lives of individual innocent animals but also the continued existence of many species, and therefore the well-being of the ecosystems in which they live is also threatened. These allegations against your company were first made in 2016, and yet these pages still exist and membership in these groups has nearly doubled. You have a responsibility to fulfill your obligations as a member of the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, and to live up to your company’s policies and stated commitments to work “with TRAFFIC to help tackle the illegal online trade of wildlife.” I urge you to ensure that Facebook no longer sells ads on pages like these, and that these groups are immediately removed from the Facebook platform and their members are reported to authorities.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ivy Allen / USFWS



  1. Derinda Nilsson says:

    STOP FACEBOOK NOW!!!! This is so not good, SHAME on you facebook.

  2. Some advice, don’t add more controversy. End this!

  3. Avee Tsofa-Holmes says:

    Facebook must put a stop to this sickening activity.Don’t they realise that the World is losing so many magnificent creatures and that Facebook is actively supporting this.

  4. Derinda Nilsson says:

    Don’t get nervous K, I just meant Facebook needs to end this activity. Wasn’t trying to create more controversy.

  5. Facebook ARE AMORAL, they won’t stop.

  6. Josie Olive says:

    Let’s boycott shotty ads Facebook. This guy stole Facebook from his classmates

  7. We MUST PROTECT these Animals at every turn — PLEASE — do NOT ALLOW the Sale of Animals nor such promotions or advertisements.

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