Instagram Fights Wildlife Exploitation with New Hashtag Warnings

Instagram's new pop ups will alert users to potential instances of animal abuse

Instagram's new pop ups will alert users to potential instances of animal

Instagram will start issuing warnings on selfies with the adorable Australian marsupial and other wild animals - with animal-cruelty cautions appearing when users search or click on hashtags including #koalaselfie, #lionselfie or #tigerpet as of Tuesday, National Geographic reports.

'You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment'. "If someone's behavior is interrupted, hopefully they'll think, 'Maybe there's something more here, ' or, 'Maybe I shouldn't just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me there's a problem with this photo.'" It might also make users think twice about taking such pictures themselves, an act that brings with it its own risks and dangers.

Wildlife conservation groups argue animals that users take photos with at tourist sites can actually suffer from human contact. Due to the world's obsession with taking selfies, the wildlife selfie industry is incredibly profitable for those who keep the animals.

"The protection and safety of the natural world are important to us and our global community". You'll see if when viewing these flagged hashtags, but users posting photos under the same hashtags will not receive the warning.

"So what's troubling about a photo of someone hugging a seemingly cuddly wild animal like a koala?"

"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]".

Celebrities including socialite Paris Hilton and reality start Khloe Kardashian have been roundly criticised for posing for pictures with chimpanzees and orangutans at private zoos by the UN's Great Apes Survival Partnership, who branded them "chumps with chimps" previous year.

Apart from this type of images, Instagram has also added pop-up warnings for topics, like self-harm and eating disorders. "We're trying to do our part to educate them", Instagram spokeswoman Emily Cain explained.

Koalas and sloths are animals that people want to pet or hold.

"Instagram has several other "help" categories that include "hate accounts", abuse and spam", and "exploitation".

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