Exposing Dubai’s Exotic Animal Trade via Instagram

Foeke Postam, an investigative journalist at Bellingcat, used fake Instagram accounts to follow people, reverse search images, geolocate pictures, and watch videos frame by frame to identify customers and exotic animal suppliers in Dubai.

The exotic pet trade is a multi-million dollar industry, seen as a symbol of power and wealth. It’s no wonder influencers and celebrities use them as props in their own social media content.

Postam set out to identify various animals through their spots, stripes and whiskers, tracing them back to anonymous individuals who were potentially engaged in the illegal leasing of wildlife. This is how he exposed Dubai’s exotic animal trade via Instagram.

In Super Users, we go down an internet rabbit hole to hear from people whose lives have become defined by their online presence.

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