Instagram is rife with photos of cute wild animals—including the exotic and endangered. A picture of someone hugging a sloth or showing off a pet tiger cub is just a click away on the massively popular photo-sharing platform, which serves 800 million users.
But recently, searches for a wide range of wildlife hashtags will trigger a notification informing people of the behind-the-scenes animal abuse that makes some seemingly innocent wildlife photos possible.
Instagram will now deliver a pop-up message whenever someone searches or clicks on a hashtag like “#slothselfie.” The message reads, in part, “You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment.”
People can then click through to a page Instagram set up in its Help Center to provide a lot more information on wildlife exploitation. Instagram will use the same process for more egregious activity, such as searches for #exoticanimalforsale and other hashtags users post to advertise the sale of live animals or animal parts.