Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Preston Stone

Instagram to Shame Users Who Take Exotic Animal Selfies with Abuse Notification

Instagram to Shame Users Who Take Exotic Animal Selfies with Abuse Notification

The message reads, in part, "You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment".

These animals are often victims of the tourism industry, and paying for pictures with exotic animals may put them and endangered animals at risk, the guidelines explain.

WAP chief executive Steve McIvor said: "We congratulate Instagram on taking this important step towards educating its users about wild animals that are suffering for selfies".

Many animals like sloths and koalas don't like being handled, and being carried around to pose for selfies could cause them great amounts of distress. The photo sharing service has introduced new pop-up warnings that will appear when searching for hashtags commonly used to share images of animal exploration and abuse. "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", she said. However, in some cases, there are photos and clips that show animals being forced into doing certain acts, which are condemned by animal rights groups.

A handout picture released on October 4, 2017 by World Animal Protection shows a tourist taking a photo of a woman posing with a sloth in an unspecified location in Brazil on October 22, 2016.

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According to CNN, if you search for hashtags like #lionselfie, #koalaselfie, #koalahugs or #tigerpet - either by clicking on it or directly typing it in - a warning will pop up.

The social media platform will use the tool to discourage users from purchasing wild animals for private use. "And it will set an important yardstick for others in social media to think about and follow".

Thousands of photos with the flagged hashtags, which relate to animals including tigers, lions and turtles, feature on Instagram.

In October, a Ukranian Instagram user sparked outrage among animal lovers when she posted her cat while it was getting a tattoo. Which is why Instagram has launched an advisory on some hashtags to help users avoid creating content that can endanger or exploit wildlife.

At the same time, selfies taken in newly Instagram-popular spots, like Bonneville Salt Flats and Yellowstone National Park, can ravage their sensitive environments. Wildlife experts say that behind the scenes, many wild animals suffer.

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