Instagram will now alert users who post selfies with exotic animals, informing them about animal abuse “that makes some seemingly innocent wildlife photos possible.”
According to National Geographic, “searches for a wide range of wildlife hashtags” will now “trigger a notification informing people of the behind-the-scenes animal abuse that makes some seemingly innocent wildlife photos possible.”
“Instagram will now deliver a pop-up message whenever someone searches or clicks on a hashtag like ‘#slothselfie,'” they explained. “The message reads, in part, ‘You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment.'”
“People can then click through to a page Instagram set up in its Help Center to provide a lot more information on wildlife exploitation,” National Geographic declared, adding that, “Instagram will use the same process for more egregious activity, such as searches for #exoticanimalforsale and other hashtags users post to advertise the sale of live animals or animal parts.”
In a statement, Instagram spokesman Emily Cain explained, “We care about our community, including the animals and the wildlife that are an important part of the platform.”
“I think it’s important for the community right now to be more aware. We’re trying to do our part to educate them,” she expressed.
In his own statement, Crawford Allan, a senior director of TRAFFIC at the World Wildlife Fund, claimed, “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].”
“For Instagram to really step up now and recognize it and take strong measures, I think is very significant,” he concluded. “And it will set an important yardstick for others in social media to think about and follow.”