It's pretty simple. People love Instagram. People love using hashtags. People love to curse. People love to curse in hashtags on Instagram. Instagram doesn't like that. In fact, Instagram censors any sort of curse word hashtag, possibly porn related hashtag and so on from its searches. That's a good thing! But Instagram also weirdly censors some pretty normal hashtags too.
You see, you can totally create any #hashtag you want on Instagram and it'll show up right below your squared off picture. Feel free to drop bombs of f, s, a and more. Feel free to #pretendyou'recleverwithalonghashtagthatprobablyhasatypoinit. Go wild and post 500 explicit hashtags. Go for it. But those hashtags are being censored because they're not searchable.
When you search for those hashtags like #fuck or #porn, Instagram won't actually give you any results. You'll just see a page that says 'no tags found'. All those explicit tags and foul language hashes are completely scrubbed. Instagram is pretty strict when it comes to "violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive" posts and is fairly clear in its Community Guidelines about what's right and what's not right.
But for some reason, Instagram also bans these 10 inoffensive hashtags:
- #iphone4s (#iphone5 is not banned from searches)
It makes total sense that #boobs and #penis should be weeded out but why would these normal tags like #IG and #photography disappear too? I see those tags on my Instagram every single day! Is that some secret sexting code that tweens are using? No. The reason these tags don't exist to Instagram is because they're too generic. According to Instagram cofounder Mike Kreiger:
“We’ve stopped serving feeds (both in app and API) for some tags that were too generic and didn’t provide enough end-user value.”
So for all you people who tag your pictures with #iphone or #popular, you now know that you're not really doing anything but wasting your time. If you're curious to see an unofficial list of explicit hashtags that are banned from Instagram, head over to Nick Drewe's site The Data Pack that culled a bunch of banned words—think #DuckDynastyBitch, #fuckpsy, #proanorexia, #rackcitybitch—together using Instagram's API. It's a wonderful list of stuff that basically doesn't exist on Instagram. [The Data Pack]