In a move heralded by animal protection groups, Instagram has started posted notices alerting users that certain hashtags are associated with posts that depict harm to animals or the environment.
Some of those posts, cited by Instagram, include #koalaselfie. Others include #slothselfie and #tigerselfie.
The trend of
Instagram users posting selfies with themselves and critters who may have been captured or kept in captivity for human enjoyment has sparked concern. Instagram says it recognizes the problem and is now adopting a policy where users who look for those hashtags will get a content advisory screen.
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 also addressed the growing concerns of its users taking selfies in places or trying to capture photos in an environment that may be harmed by too much human interaction.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty, but risking damage to the environment—whether it’s walking on wildflowers, moving a nest or carving initials—is never worth a few likes.
The use of capture exotic animals as photo props was denounced by the company.
Users should be wary when paying for photo opportunities with exotic animals as those photos and videos may put endangered animals at risk.
Instagram said users should be mindful of interactions with wild animals and take into consideration whether an animal has been smuggled, poached or abused for the sake of tourism.