Animal selfies to carry Instagram warning

Instagram hashtags such as #koalaselfie will generate a pop-up warning.
Instagram hashtags such as #koalaselfie will generate a pop-up warning. Photo credit: Getty

Instagram will begin adding warnings to selfies that include certain wildlife species.

Clicking on a hashtag such as #koalaselfie or #lionselfie will generate a pop-up message with the heading "Protect Wildlife on Instagram".

"Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram," the warning reads.

"You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment."

Instagram's warning for the hashtag #koalaselfie.
Instagram's warning for the hashtag #koalaselfie. Photo credit: Instagram

Users then have the option of cancelling the search, viewing the photos or clicking "learn more", which links to an Instagram help page on wildlife exploitation.

"To better educate our community members about creating content that exploits wildlife and nature, today we are launching new in-app products to encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment," Instagram said in a statement.

The app's new feature targets photos of captive animals at wildlife tourist attractions, an experience that conservation groups say can be traumatising for the animals. In a similar move, dating app Tinder published a blog post in July, asking users not to upload selfies with tigers.

Instagram also displays pop-up warnings for controversial hashtags about eating disorders, self-harm and suicide.