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  • Instagram now alerts users to the potential animal abuse going on behind nature snaps.
  • The alert is triggered when users search for photos of popular hands-on animal experiences, including koala cuddling and swimming with dolphins.
  • Instagram hopes to make users think twice about what’s going on behind the picture.

Vacation snaps featuring cuddly koalas or elephant rides might seem cute, but Instagram wants to warn its users of the potential animal abuse going on under the surface of these operations.

Since Monday, the photo-sharing platform now presents users with a pop-up message if they search for the certain animal or wildlife hashtags. The alerts warn users of the potential behind-the-scenes animal abuse that makes the cute cubs and cuddly koala snaps possible.

If users search or click on hashtags such as “#slothselfie,” “#elephantride,” or “#exoticanimalforsale,” an alert pops up on the user’s device which they must acknowledge before they are redirected to the search results.

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In part, the message reads: “You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment.”

Users are then presented with three options: “learn more,” “show posts,” or “cancel.”