Instagram Says "Nope" To Exotic Animal Selfies

Protecting Wildlife and Nature from Exploitation – Instagram

Simply put, for people looking for animal cruelty images and clips, whether they consider them amusing, entertaining or interesting, Instagram asks them to look elsewhere.

Wildlife selfies on social media is a growing phenomenon.

It's really cool to see Instagram take up this initiative! Anyone trying to search for or post such images will now see a warning about the ways they might accidentally be encouraging abuse.

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.

It reads: "Protect Wildlife on Instagram: Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram".

With effect from this Monday, whenever an Instagram user will make searches pertaining to, for or making clicks on a hashtag that is generally associated to abusive behavior toward animals, such as posing with and holding wild animals, the following warning message will pop up.

Instagram's press release is clear that such posts will be hidden and that they won't be tolerated on Instagram.

"Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram".

But many people who are enabling that abuse might not even know they're actually doing so.

Cassandra Koenen, who worked with Instagram to compile the list as part of her work with World Animal Protection, told National Geographic: "If someone's behaviour 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 that there's a problem with this photo'".

The decision was made after an investigation was launched by National Geographic into the way that social networks were encouraging unsafe animal tourism. 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".

In a statement, the Facebook-owned company said: "To better educate our community members about creating content that exploits wildlife and nature, today we are launching new in-app products to encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment". "And then when the animal gets too big they sell it, sometimes for body parts", he said.

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