Instagram adds content warnings for koala selfies

Adjust Comment Print

To raise awareness on this issue WAP has collaborated with Instagram to ensure users searching for terms like #slothselfie or #lionselfie will be presented with a warning.

There are tens of thousands of selfies on Instagram that feature exotic animals, and with every post, followers want to join the trend and take one of their own. Just a couple months ago, we shared World Animal Protection's new "Wildlife Selfie Code" campaign that urged people to never take a selfie with a wild animal.

Dedicated social media posters aren't typically trekking into jungles and posing next to wild animals.

According to WAP numerous animals who tourists take photos with are stolen from their natural habitat and are then kept in cramped conditions and passed around from tourist to tourist, causing them extreme stress.

Searches for selfies with other animals, including koalas, tigers and cheetahs, also provoke the warning. But wildlife conservation groups stated that these tourist attractions mistreat animals. You will now get a content advisory screen whenever you will search for hashtags or photos/videos associated with harmful behavior to animals or the environment.

Like Tinder, Instagram isn't banning the photos or taking the selfies down. Wild animals deserve to live in the wild.

"With its community of over 800 million users, Instagram has the platform to change the conversation around the use of animals as photo props". 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.

Apart from this type of images, Instagram has also added pop-up warnings for topics, like self-harm and eating disorders.

Though there are plenty of people who don't give two shits about the safety of animals when it comes to furthering their brand, Instagram is hoping these notifications will help to educate people who don't know about the negative ramifications of riding an elephant while overseas. "We are encouraged by this first step towards changing the acceptability of using animals for our entertainment", said Cassandra Koenen, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at World Animal Protection. Unfortunately, these animals don't like being held or handled.