To mark Wildlife Conservation Day, Instagram is launching new tools to help ensure its platform isn’t used to exploit wildlife.
The policy change comes after a New York Times story revealed how animal traffickers were using Instagram to buy and sell illegally traded endangered apes. Now when someone searches for content using a hashtag associated with trafficking, wildlife, or animal exploitation, a new content advisory will appear to help educate users about the creation of content that may exploit wildlife and the natural world around them.
Instagram has also added new language to its Help Center to remind users “to be mindful of the environment around them when taking the perfect photo or selfie and of their interactions with wild animals, and consider whether an animal has been smuggled, poached, or abused for the sake of tourism.” The warning comes after multiple animal deaths that were caused by selfie-snapping hoards and a study showing how detrimental selfie seekers can be to animals.
As Instagram noted in its announcement, its policies already prohibit animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts on Instagram. However, as the Facebook-owned site told Fast Company last month, it wanted to do more to prevent these kinds of activities.
Instagram is not done with its work to protect animals, either. It is also working with wildlife experts to refine its content review procedures to help keep animals safe.