Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Instagram Creates New Feature to Fight Animal Abuse

Instagram Creates New Feature to Fight Animal Abuse

Instagram hopes to make users think twice about what's going on behind the picture.

Simply put, for people looking for animal cruelty images and clips, whether they consider them amusing, entertaining or interesting, Instagram asks them to look elsewhere.

With effect from this Monday, whenever an Instagram user will make searches pertaining to, for or making clicks on a hashtag that is generally associated to abusive behavior toward animals, such as posing with and holding wild animals, the following warning message will pop up.

"Starting today, when a person searches for a hashtag associated with harmful behaviour to animals or the environment, they will see a content advisory screen", it said. Social media users call this trend "Wildlife Selfie". According to Giavanna Grein, TRAFFIC and the World Wildlife Fund plan to focus on suggesting more hashtags and working with Instagram to train employees to spot content involving endangered animals.

No more monkey selfies! However, in some cases, there are photos and clips that show animals being forced into doing certain acts, which are condemned by animal rights groups. Koenen says that while cuddling a koala or a sloth for a photo may not seem harmful, the reality is undeniable. It can be very stressful, Koenen says, but it's hard for people to observe the effects in the animal they're handling.

The user is also given the opportunity to bypass the warning and look photos under the hashtags anyway. Of these, more than 40 percent involved humans "hugging or inappropriately interacting with a wild animal".

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Many tourists and holiday-goers reportedly struggle to tell when a wildlife excursion or hands-on animal experience might be bad for the animal's well-being, according to National Geographic.

Instagram's decision comes after National Geographic and World Animal Protection's months-long investigations into the growing industry of problematic wildlife tourism in the Amazon.

"It's about helping people understand: This is what goes into that two-second interaction for you to get that photo", she said. Instagram would like to have a word with you about that.

The social media platform will use the tool to discourage users from purchasing wild animals for private use.

"For Instagram to really step up now and recognize it and take strong measures, I think is very significant", he concluded. The move built on the company's previous policy, which prohibited bookings involving killing or injuring animals, such as captive hunts and bullfights.

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