Technology

Instagram Fights Wildlife Exploitation with New Hashtag Warnings

Instagram Fights Wildlife Exploitation with New Hashtag Warnings

Unlike traditional e-commerce sites like eBay, platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow would-be traffickers to connect and then take their communications-and negotiations-onto a separate, private platform, says Giavanna Grein, wildlife crime program officer at TRAFFIC.

Instagram announced Monday that it is adding content warnings to selfies that include tigers, koalas and other wildlife.

Instagram doesn't plan on revealing all of the hashtags associated with the message so that users can stumble upon it during their searches.

"Starting today, when a person searches for a hashtag associated with harmful behaviour to animals or the environment, they will see a content advisory screen", it said.

Experts told Yahoo7 that tigers, lions, koalas and dolphins are at a high risk of mistreatment when humans interact with them at zoos.

While Instagram is not removing images that depict people holding animals, they are committed to removing any images that depict acts of animal abuse.

The social media platform will use the tool to discourage users from purchasing wild animals for private use.

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If users want to learn more about the wildlife photography and animal exploitation, "learn more" will redirect them to a page in the Instagram Help Centre that discusses wildlife exploitation and animal abuse.

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. "It gives us a lot of hope moving forward".

Instagram has policed content before. The company has attached the popup to several hundred such hashtags. And Instagram will now try and alert people to those dangers, while discouraging them from posting such pictures.

Instagram has experimented with pop-up messages for other hashtags in the past surrounding suicide, eating disorders and other forms of self-harm, and already has safeguards in place to prevent pictures of animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts. Social media users call this trend "Wildlife Selfie".

It's really cool to see Instagram take up this initiative! Of course, the casual user may not realize the cute pictures are exploitative, but Instagram hopes to change that.

Lead Image: A young man snaps a selfie on Isla de los Micos, Monkey Island, in the Colombian Amazon. The reality is these wild animals are suffering terribly, both in front of and behind the camera.


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