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New Instagram Tool Helps Protect Wildlife
By Joseph Tepper, December 7, 2017 @ 11:09 AM (EST)
Source: National Geographic

It seems as though the vast majority of Instagram posts include some sort of adorable animal selfie. But occasionally the price for such a snap includes animal mistreatment and abuse.

Instagram is fighting animal abuse with a new tool that automatically identifies images and hashtags that involve questionable ethics. For example, when a user searches for the hashtags “#slothselfie” or “#exoticanimalfor sale” a warning message follows.

“You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment,” reads the warning in part.

Users than can continue through to the content or click to a help page with more information on wildlife exploitation. “We care about our community, including the animals and the wildlife that are an important part of the platform,” says Instagram spokeswoman Emily Cain.

There are hundreds of hashtags that trigger the warning. They are both English terms as well as translations in local languages for countries where wildlife exploitation is rampant. Instagram partnered with WWF to compile the list.

Wildlife selfies have increased 294 percent on social media since 2014, according to the WWF. And unfortunately, many of these photos have unintended consequences for the animals in them. Learn more about the program in this thorough National Geographic article.





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