Instagram relaxes terms on censored hashtags, but its criteria remains confusing

instagram relaxes terms censored hashtags criteria remains confusing k bigpic

This summer it was revealed that even though you might participate in #sexualwednesday every week on Instagram, the platform was actually blocking those hashtags. Those – and many more.

There were a lot of questions raised once the full list got out; why was Instagram making #foodorgasm and #bitchdontkillmyvibes unsearchable, but #junkiesofIG and #uglyslutsaturday were still OK? The discrepency between blocked and unblocked was confusing and made little to no sense.

But as it turns out, the same social data team that released the list went digging again and found out that Instagram has relaxed its terms considerably. Here’s the new full list of what’s allowed and what still isn’t:

ig list hashtag

The Data Pack says that the first go-around, Instagram was omitting hashtags that had certain words (which appeared to be explicit or sexual language, as well as phrases of the four letter variety) instead of looking at the hashtag in its entirety. That’s why #junkiesofIG slipped past; separately, those words are rather harmless (sure, junkie has a known connotation, but it’s not as blatant as “orgasm” or “sex,” which pretty much only mean what they mean).

According to the new lists, the content that remains unsearchable errs to the sexual or pornographic side – though the censorship of #loseweight certainly suggests Instagram is trying to keep thinspiration content out of the platform. #Pronorexia and #probulimia are also blocked, but again, these are very blatant, where as #loseweight could (maybe) be interpreted otherwise. But there’s no place for any suggestion of this sort on Instagram, so it’s been blocked.

But there are still some confusing choices here:

  • #birthdaysex is OK but #instabody is not
  • #boobz is OK but #boobs is not
  • #fuckinsong is OK but #instasex is not 
  • #thinspo is OK but #thinspiration is not 
  • #getnakedpls is OK but #strip is not
  • #mouthtopenis is OK but #shirtless is not

Incongruities aside, the relaxed terms for searchable hashtags comes just as Instagram is officially running ads in the feed. Just a coincidence, or does the timing suggest some brands out there want to make use of the formerly censored #boobimplants hashtag? Probably not, says The Data Tank founder Nick Drewe, who calls it “more of a response” to how confused we all were when the former list was released. “It’s clear they were a bit over-cautious with the first list.” 

He also points out that it’s clear Instagram is trying to keep illicit content off the platform and protect users – though there is a fine line for the network to walk between protecting and censoring. And of course, much confusion over why certain hashtags are banned and others aren’t (see above) remain. 

Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Gaming

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.