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Instagram Fights Wildlife Exploitation with New Hashtag Warnings

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Instagram is now waging war against wildlife exploitation. 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.

Instagram worked with a number of conservation organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC, and World Animal Protection, in order to bring this change to its social network platform.

An Instagram representative tells the Huffington Post that “hundreds of hashtag combinations” will now trigger a warning advising users about the problems of wildlife exploitation. Hashtags such as #koalaselfie and #lionselfie will now show this screen:

“We are committed to fostering a safer, kinder world both on Instagram and beyond the app,” says Instagram. “The protection and safety of the natural world are important to us and our global community. We encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment to help avoid exploitation.”

It is no secret that irresponsible tourism can lead to wildlife exploitation. Elephant riding, tiger stroking, and slow loris selfies are activities that are common for tourists visiting Asia. Each of these things is also regularly shared on Instagram.

The move comes not long after a group of high-profile conservation photographers launched their Photographers Against Wildlife Crime  project in an effort to combat animal exploitation.

The change is already live on Instagram across the world. You’ll see if when viewing these flagged hashtags, but users posting photos under the same hashtags will not receive the warning.


Image credits: Lead photo by BrokenSphere and used under CC 3.0 license.

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