The acquisition came amid criticism of the billionaire for his attitude toward the ancestral rights of the archipelago’s natives.

The co-founder of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, acquired a piece of land last month on the island of Kauai, part of the Hawaiian archipelago (USA), the local newspaper Star Advertiser reported last Sunday with reference to the couple’s spokesman, Ben LaBolt.

The 44.5 hectare site previously belonged to a sugar plantation and includes the more than 130-year-old Ka Loko reservoir, known for the collapse of its dam in 2006, which resulted in the death of seven people. The purchase cost Zuckerberg and Chan $ 17 million .

The newly acquired land is in addition to the around 530 hectares it bought on the same island twice, in 2014 and last April. Together, they form a contiguous property that includes both agricultural and conservation lands, as well as the Ko ‘Olau Ranch estate, the local residence of Zuckerberg and Chan.

“Mark and Priscilla continue to make their home at Ko’olau Ranch ,” LaBolt noted. The representative assures that the couple will comply with all legal requirements and promote the safety of the reservoir, which was last repaired 15 years ago.

In the past, the purchase of Zuckerberg and Chan was criticized by locals. In 2016, the couple  built  a 180-centimeter stone wall, blocking easy access to Pila’a beach.

Then, in 2017, Zuckerberg  filed a lawsuit against hundreds of local residents to force them to sell him small parcels within their territory. ” That is the face of neocolonialism . Although a forced sale cannot physically displace people, it is the last nail in the coffin that separates us from the earth,  the University of Hawaii law professor then told The Guardian. originally from Kauai, Kapua Sproat. “For us as Native Hawaiians, the land is an ancestor. It is a grandmother. Your grandmother is just not for sale,” he added.

In 2020, Hawaiian Mia Brier started a petition to stop the founder of Facebook from “colonizing” the island of Kauai. In just one week, it obtained more than a million signatures.