Instagram is combatting animal abuse one hashtag at a time!


Instagram is informing people about the animal abuse behind the “cute” animal selfies that are posted on a daily basis by creating a hashtag pop-up message.


Instagram is taking a stand against animal abuse and informing its 800 million users about what really happens behind the scenes of their “cute” animal selfies.

This isn’t a first for social media, in July this year Tinder, the dating app, banned Tiger selfies. Social media platforms are starting to make big changes that help educate the public about their actions and interactions with wildlife.

Instagram has very popular hashtags involving wildlife and many will now trigger a pop-up notification that contains information about what really happens behind the scenes of wildlife selfies.

“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 message then has three prompts – you can click to learn more, show the posts you were looking for or cancel the action altogether. Should you click to learn more, you are directed to a help centre that shares much more detailed information about wildlife exploitation.

“We care about our community, including the animals and the wildlife that are an important part of the platform,”

“I think it’s important for the community right now to be more aware. We’re trying to do our part to educate them.” – Emily Cain, Instagram spokeswoman. 

The hashtags that trigger the Instagram warnings are plentiful. That includes hashtags in English and in the local languages of Thailand and Indonesia. These countries are popular for harmful wildlife practices and have become well known as top tourist destinations for “wildlife selfies”.
“If someone’s behaviour is interrupted, hopefully, they’ll think, Maybe there’s something more here, or maybe I shouldn’t just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me there’s a problem with this photo.” – Cassandra Koenen, head of wildlife campaigns at World Animal Protection
Instagram has not released a list of the hashtags it selected, the company wants users to stumble on them as they search in their everyday lives. 
It is easy to avoid promoting this horrific industry, just remember if an animal is supposed to be in a tree, then it should be in a tree and not on your arm. Animals should only ever be viewed from a safe distance in their natural habitats without any human contact.

We are happy to see the popular photo app using its platform to make a change!

Sources: National Geographic
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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