In a recent announcement, Instagram stated that it’s going to add content warnings to any selfies with wildlife, including tigers and koalas. But the warnings will only appear if you use specific hashtags.
Most people who trek in the jungles take photos of captive animals, like koalas, dolphins, lions, and tigers. But wildlife conservation groups stated that these tourist attractions mistreat animals. They also believe that it can be a traumatic experience for them when they contact with humans daily.
In a statement, Instagram stated:
“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 and to report any photos and videos you may see that may violate our community guidelines.” – Instagram
Thus, when you search or click an offending hashtag, like #koalaselfie or #koalahugs, then you will see a pop-up warning. But you can still go and view the photos. However, you can also cancel your search and stop viewing those images.
The message warns you that you are searching for a hashtag that’s associated with a post that encourages harmful behavior towards animals.
However, the social networking site isn’t the first social media to impose such warning. The dating app, Tinder, for example, asked its users to avoid using selfies with tigers for their profiles.
“It’s time for the tiger selfies to go. More often than not, these photos take advantage of beautiful creatures that have been torn from their natural environment. Wild animals deserve to live in the wild. PETA says now is the time to rid the platform of tiger photos in honor of International Tiger Day on Saturday July 29th, and we could not agree more.” – Tinder
But these apps don’t ban these images. They also don’t remove those selfies. Those hashtags will still appear in search results. However, Instagram will remove pictures if it thinks that they show animal abuse or if the image states that it’s selling an endangered animal.
Thousands of posts
When you search for koala selfies on Instagram, you’ll find more than 3,000 of them that utilize #koalaselfie as a hashtag. In fact, the socialite, Paris Hilton, posted one a week ago.
Apart from this type of images, Instagram has also added pop-up warnings for topics, like self-harm and eating disorders. The use of #thinspiration, for example, will bring a pop-up message that warns you of the dangers of eating disorders. The warning message includes a link to a page with resources that may help resolve this kind of mental health issue.
Koalas and sloths are animals that people want to pet or hold. Unfortunately, these animals don’t like being held or handled. The worse part is that tourists do not know if the attractions they’re visiting treat the animals well or not.
This Instagram gesture may not stop people from publishing photos with koalas. But it may help in spreading the message about protecting wildlife from exploitation.