What to Do When You See Animal Cruelty on Social Media
As TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook become even more popular, the platforms are putting more eyes on videos depicting animal cruelty. Here’s what to do if one of these videos crosses your timeline.
As a social media manager for World Animal Protection US, one of the most common questions I’m asked is what to do when you see animal cruelty on social media. We’ve highlighted this trend in the past, asking YouTube to proactively prevent this type of cruel content from being uploaded in the first place.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the social media platform to put policies in place to prevent these videos from being uploaded at all. In the meantime, however, it can be difficult to scroll through social media knowing that animal abuse is happening on the app. Here are a few things you can do when you see animal cruelty on your social media.
Report the Video
TikTok’s guidelines explicitly prohibit the upload of videos depicting animal cruelty. To report a video for violating these guidelines, simply press and hold on the video, select “Report,” and follow the instructions provided. There is a section specifically for animal cruelty that you can use to report the video.
On Instagram, press the three dots above a post then press “Report.” From there, select “Violent or dangerous organizations,” then press “Animal abuse.” Similarly, on Facebook, use the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post, select “Report post,” then “Violence,” then “Animal Abuse.”
Scroll Past It
Sadly, one of the most effective things you can do if you encounter animal cruelty on social media is to quickly swipe past it. Social media algorithms use views to determine how popular any given video is, and the fewer views a video has, the less likely it is to be recommended to others.
Avoid Commenting, Liking, or Watching the Whole Video
In addition to views, social media algorithms also consider engagement when recommending a video on your For You Page. The more engagement, aka likes and comments, a video has, the more likely it is to end up on someone’s timeline. By commenting on a video of animal cruelty, even if the comment is directed at ending the cruelty or alerting an animal welfare group to the presence of the video, you’re adding to a video’s likelihood of going viral.
In short, when you see animal cruelty on social media, you should scroll past the video immediately or report it immediately. Do not engage with the video, as that will only increase its performance in the social media algorithm.
Looking for videos of cute animals in high-welfare environments like the wild or animal sanctuaries? Follow us on TikTok @WorldAnimalProtectionUS, where we post videos of animals in our partner sanctuaries and in their homes in the wild.