Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Rethink that selfie with wild animals, warns Instagram

Rethink that selfie with wild animals, warns Instagram

On Monday, the popular photo-sharing platform announced that anyone searching for those posts using hashtags will be shown a warning that these seemingly innocent photos are often associated with harmful behavior toward wildlife.

The message is a response to research conducted by WAP that shows a 292% increase in the number of wildlife selfies posted on Instagram since 2014.

'You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment, ' the warning reads.

Experts told Yahoo7 that tigers, lions, koalas and dolphins are at a high risk of mistreatment when humans interact with them at zoos. If users search for particular hashtags that are related to animal cruelty, they will see a pop-up box informing them that images containing animal abuse are not allowed on the site.

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The advisory is being launched a month after the New York Times published a, some of which was taking place on social media platforms like Instagram.

Users who click through to "learn more" are directed to a page on wildlife exploitation, with information warning tourists against taking photos with exotic animals.

Though there are plenty of people who don't give two shits about the safety of animals when it comes to furthering their brand, Instagram is hoping these notifications will help to educate people who don't know about the negative ramifications of riding an elephant while overseas.

"Maybe someone who's been selling live animals on Instagram will get the popup and think, OK, this is going to get a lot harder for me", Grein says. It has warnings for other topics including self-harm and eating disorders. Starting today, Instagram is making it harder to find such content. There are now hundreds of hashtags such as #SlothSelfie and #MonkeySelfie on Instagram. And Instagram will now try and alert people to those dangers, while discouraging them from posting such pictures.

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Instagram is not the first app to take a stand against wildlife pictures, with online dating app Tinder requesting that people not use "tiger selfies" as their profile pictures.

"Social media has not yet really woken up to the full scale and extent of the nature of illegal wildlife trade that's being used and promoted [on social networks]", says Crawford Allan, senior director of TRAFFIC at the World Wildlife Fund.

Instagram officials want to change that. In the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus 18 tour companies said they offered opportunities on 94 percent of trips to "hold and touch wild animals as photo props".

"The majority are really unaware of a lot of the awful conditions and disgusting treatment that wild animals experience, so that we can really capture special vacation selfies".

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