Last week Instagram announced that they had introduced a second level of censorship, censoring hundreds of hashtags, and lifting its ban on more than 100 previously unsearchable hashtags such as #sexyback #foodorgasm and #boobz. Some of newly censored tags make sense, but many of them are confusing.


Instagram’s terms state that users “may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content,” and it notes, “We may, but have no obligation to, remove, edit, block and / or monitor content or accounts containing content that we determine in our sole discretion violates these terms of use.”

A majority of the completely censored tags are either explicitly or mildly pornographic (#nobra, #cleavage, #sexual). There is also a collection of completely censored tags related to pro-anorexia, and self harm (#thinspiration, #thinspo, #selfharm, #loseweight).

We looked into some of the strangest censored hashtags:


7: #SnowBunnies
Unfortunately this hashtag will not bring up cute little bunnies playing in the snow. This slang word is in no way appropriate, and associated to photographs that should not appear on Instagram. Here is an example of what appears when Googling this word:

snow bunny

6: #Kansas
Kansas doesn’t seem like an offensive tag, but it wasn’t pornography that prompted the ban. This hashtag has been temporarily banned, meaning it still does show limited results. When searching for this tag before the temporary ban, several pictures appeared of guns and users posing with turkeys and ducks, which they had hunted. Based on Instagrams terms and conditions, Instagram can remove gun-related posts, limiting #Kansas so that gun related posts do not appear in the feed while not limiting #Hunting or #Guns seems unlikely.


5: #Saltwater
One incredibly baffling hashtag that we can’t exactly understand why this was a popular hashtags to start off with? But Instagram has decided to censor it on their platform.


4: #Popular
This popular hashtag has been completely banned from the social platform mainly because this hastag was getting used for any kind of picture and spamming the #Popular feed with unrelated pictures.


3: #Like
Again for the same reason as why #Popular has been banned, this hashtag is being used on pictures for the only purpose to appear in the feed.


2: #Alone
Unfortunately this hashtag has been used by one too many good looking gals and boys on Instagram and has made this ‘normal’ tag appear to be pornographic and has been completely banned.


1: #Weed
One theory is that Instagram they have banned this hashtag because they are trying to protect its users. Part of posting a photo on Instagram is geo-tagging the photo so that others can see where the photo was taken. Recently, police have been using this Instagram feature to pinpoint the whereabouts to social media sites is considered ‘reasonable suspicion’ police are using Instagram as a resource to supplement their more traditional efforts of law enforcement.

Here are some other censored hashtags which left us baffled:



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Author Nikki Hall

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