Starting today, when a person searches for a hashtag associated with harmful behavior to animals or the environment, they will see a content advisory screen.
So Instagram is sending a message against taking selfies with them that will pop up when users include hashtags like #koalaselfie.
Lead image by Pixabay user Webster 2703, used under Creative Commons. "Be wary when paying for photo opportunities with exotic animals, as these photos and videos may put endangered animals at risk".
Instagram wants to protect the world's wildlife from an existential threat: selfies.
In many areas, animals are often illegally captured to generate money from tourists who jump at the chance to take a selfie with an exotic species, a practice that is highly unsafe for the animals involved.
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It has chosen not to share the list publicly in order for users to stumble across the hashtags organically, National Geographic reported, but examples include#koalaselfie, #slothselfie, and #exoticanimalforsale. Their prevalence has grown 292 per cent on the platforms since 2014, World Animal Protection found - often to the animals' detriment.
The warning also will pop-up for hashtags that advertise the sale of exotic animals or animal parts, according to Instagram. "I think it's important for the community right now to be more aware".
"Wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies and secretly kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food causing severe psychological trauma just so tourists can get photo". "We're trying to do our part to educate them".
Taking a selfie with a wild animal and uploading it to social media may seem like a harmless thing to do.