Instagram has blocked a large number of hashtags — the keywords people use with “#” as a suffix to make their images more searchable — and unsurprisingly most of them are obscenities.
The Data Packhas a large list of hashtags that Instagram has rendered unsearchable. You can tag your photos with them, but doing so is meaningless because no one will be able to search for them.
Why does Instagram do this? App stores like the one on the iPhone have pretty strict rules about pornography and obscene content. Blocking hashtags that Instagram users use to post such naughty images helps keep Instagram in line with Apple’s rules.
Here are 12 examples of hashtags that Instagram blocks:
#sex: The first, most obvious concern Instagram has (at least as inferred by the list)‚ is that the company does not want Instagram to turn into Tumblr, which developed a reputation as being riddled with adult or sexual content that made it toxic to advertisers. Thus, there is no #sex on Instagram. (That’s just one of dozens of other banned sex words, including #fetish and other more explicit ones).
But Instagram has gone beyond porn words.
#kikmeboys: Two tags that might be used by prostitutes gathering clients on the messaging service Kik are also banned: #kikmeboys and #kikmenow.
#thinspo: Instagram has also moved to discourage users who promote eating disorders as a weightloss inspiration, under the #thinspo tag. Other banned thinspo tags include #thinspiration, #loseweight, #proanorexia, and #probulimia.
Both Tumblr and Pinterest have moved to restrict those tags on their platforms.
#whitepower: Also banned are words that reference racism, like #whitepower. Clearly, Instagram is hoping that racist accounts — or knowledge of them — don’t go viral. The n-word is also banned as a hashtag, but not if you use it as part of your Instagram username.
#popular: Instagram has also banned searches for terms that might be used by people trying to game the system in a quest for building massive (but fake) audiences: #photography, #popula,r and #popularpage.
And then there are real some real head-scratchers. While some of these hashtags do contain four-letter words, it’s not clear why Instagram thought they were so threatening, or so negative, that they needed to be restricted:
#iPhone5 is, however, searchable on Instagram. You can use Statigram to find more unsearchable terms.