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Rethink that selfie with wild animals, warns Instagram

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, December 6, 2017  /  06:07 pm
Rethink that selfie with wild animals, warns Instagram

On Monday, Instagram announced that it is adding content warnings to selfies that include wild animals, namely lions, koalas (pictured) and tigers. (Shutterstock/File)

Instagram is beginning to crack down on the trend of posting selfies with exotic wild animals.

On Monday, the company announced that it is adding content warnings to selfies that include wild animals. The animals of main concern are lions, koalas and tigers.

These selfies are typically taken at tourist attractions around the world such as zoos, which present domesticated wild animals as "props." Wildlife conservation groups say that these centers often mistreat animals, and human contact can be traumatic.

In a statement, the Facebook-owned company said: “To better educate our community members about creating content that exploits wildlife and nature, today we are launching new in-app products to encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment.”

According to CNN, if you search for hashtags like #lionselfie, #koalaselfie, #koalahugs or #tigerpet — either by clicking on it or directly typing it in — a warning will pop up. The warning reads: “You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment.”

Read also: 'Monkey selfie' copyright lawsuit ends in settlement

You can still carry on with your search and view the photos, cancel your search or learn more from a help page.

This is not the first time a social media platform has warned against tiger selfies. In July, dating app Tinder — at the behest of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) — urged users not to post selfies with tigers on their profiles. “Posing next to a king of the jungle doesn’t make you one,” they said in a post. 

Tinder and Instagram do not ban or remove these selfies. However, Instagram says it does remove images that depict animal abuse or the sale of endangered animals, and is working with organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC on enforcement.

Instagram has policed content before. It has warnings for other topics including self-harm and eating disorders. For example, searches for hashtags such as #thinspiration will launch a warning about the dangers of eating disorders. (afr/kes)