Just today, Instagram released a statement with regards to protecting the wildlife and nature from exploitation through its platform.
From now on, when a user searches for a hashtag that is associated with harmful behavior to animals or the environment, they will see a content advisory screen.
A warning message such as the one above appears on the search page for specific hashtags such as #koalaselfie, #lionselfie, #slothselfie, #kangarooselfie, #koalahugs, #tigerpet and #elephantivory.
However, Instagram does not remove these posts and users can still choose to proceed with the viewing. On the other hand, posts that document/support animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts are not allowed on Instagram at all.
Instagram said in a statement “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“.
While taking selfies with wildlife on a trip seems like pretty much a typical recreational and tourist activity, many do not realize that many of such locations/centers for wildlife often mistreat the animals, and their daily contact with humans can be traumatic to them.
This move by Instagram has been very much well received and supported by many. However, in its current phase, it seems that the steps taken are nothing more than a warning and may not be much of a deterrence as the posts are still left online. Furthermore, has Instagram covered all hashtags that may be associated with animal welfare? What about #elephanttusk, #deerselfie, and #rabbitfur? It appears that these hashtags are not covered…