Think twice about posting that koala selfie, Instagram warns

instagram animal selfies warning endangered baby dolphin dies 003
Hernan Coria/Facebook
Remember that news story where beachgoers in Argentina reportedly plucked a young dolphin from the sea and passed it around for selfies (above) before it overheated and died? There was a similar incident at a zoo in China, too, where visitors handled a couple of peacocks for selfies, causing both to die of apparent fright.

As a result of incidents like these, Instagram is finally taking steps to make its users aware of the more sinister aspects of some animal photos on its service. instagram animal selfies warning pop up message

The Facebook-owned company says it’s concerned about how some photographic efforts on its service might impact animals’ well being, and wants its users to consider how they interact with them.

As a result, Instagram will now present a “content advisory” message whenever someone searches for a hashtag “associated with harmful behavior to animals or the environment,” while at the same time reminding ‘grammers that “animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts are not allowed” on the service.

The hashtag list was developed in consultation with the World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC, an organization that helps to monitor wildlife trade, and World Animal Protection.

Instagram isn’t giving any specific examples of hashtags that will trigger the pop-up message, so it’s impossible to comment on its effectiveness at this early stage. However, we can already see that #koalaselfie, #slothselfie, and #monkeyselfie all trigger the message. At the time of writing, #dolphinselfie and #peacockselfie don’t.

Despite Instagram’s insistence that the “protection and safety of the natural world are important to us and our global community,” and that it’s “committed to fostering a safer, kinder world both on Instagram and beyond the app,” animal welfare advocates may be disappointed to discover that once the user has read the pop-up message, they can still choose to view the content. Alternatively, they can “learn more,” or cancel their search.

According to National Geographic (NG), Instagram was prompted to take action after an investigation by NG and World Animal Protection into the growing industry of problematic wildlife tourism in the Amazon found “animals being illegally captured from the rain forest, kept in cages, and hauled out for well-meaning tourists to hold and take selfies with.”

Cassandra Koenen of World Animal Protection told NG she hopes the warnings will cause those using Instagram to take a moment to consider the kind of content they’re searching for. “If someone’s behavior 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.’” It might also make users think twice about taking such pictures themselves, an act that brings with it its own risks and dangers.

Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Think iPhones can’t get viruses? Our expert explains why it could happen

If your iPhone has been acting strangely, then you may be concerned about the possibility it is infected with a virus or some malware. We take a look at just how likely that is and explain why iOS is considered relatively safe.

How to use Samsung's Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Social Media

Twitter wants you to help shape the future design of its app

Twitter is launching an app for testing new design features and it wants you to get involved. Those accepted into the program will have the chance to try out different conversation designs aimed at improving the user experience.
Emerging Tech

Professional drone racing is flying onto Twitter this summer

Professional drone racing is coming to Twitter for the first time this summer. Organizers hope the streaming deal with the social media platform will help the growing sport to further broaden its audience.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.