Instagram has introduced a new feature to combat wildlife exploitation in photography.
When users search for hashtags associated with harmful behaviour to animals or the environment, such as ‘#koalaselfie,’ ‘#slowloris’ and ‘#elephantride,’ they will see an advisory screen.
Instagram are also directing people to charities that work to combat wildlife crime to find out more, including the World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC and World Animal Protection.
A spokesperson for Instagram, Emily Cain, told Amateur Photographer: “Our policies already prohibit animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts on Instagram, but to better educate our community members about creating content that exploits wildlife and nature, we launched new in-app products to encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment.
“A new content advisory will appear when someone searches for content using a hashtag associated with wildlife or nature exploitation to help educate our community about creation of content that may exploit wildlife and the natural world around them.”
She added that the tools have been added to remind users to be mindful when taking photos or selfies of wild animals, and consider whether an animal has been smuggled, poached or abused for the sake of tourism.
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The screen that appears reads: “Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram.
“You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment.”
The social media company is also collaborating with wildlife experts to refine the review procedures of content that has been reported as potentially dangerous to animals.