While the world has begrudgingly accepted selfies as something that isn’t completely going away, that doesn’t mean it has become an acceptable behavior in all circumstances. People have done so many things in the name of selfies, resulting in the destruction of irreplaceable objects, harm to living creatures, and sometimes even death. Instagram, one of the biggest havens for selfies, wants to put a stop to at least one of those by discouraging selfies that encourage putting animals in danger.
People will do anything and everything for selfies, and some people will do anything and everything to encourage that. Especially if it means earning thousands. Never mind the idiotic stunts people try to pull off near dangerous animals. There is a subtler, often unknown exploitation of animals going on.
A cute selfie with some exotic or wild animal is usually anything but cute. In most cases, these animals are captured and caged just so that tourists, who may or may not know better, can take selfies with the animals. And when there no such animals to be captured, there will always be people who will be willing to illegally acquire them for the right sum. In a rather twisted way, selfies encourage illegal animal trade.
Instagram wants you to know that it won’t stand for such things. When users search for a hashtag that may be related to endangering animals, it will pop up a warning and encourage users to learn more, redirecting them to its Wildlife Exploitation page. It also encourages users to report photos and videos that display such behavior.
That said, Instagram won’t completely block the search and you can still continue viewing those selfies. It also won’t say which hashtags are on its blacklist. The social network hopes that disrupting users’ flow would be enough to give them pause to think whether those selfies are worth anyone’s life, theirs or other animals.