Banned Hashtags and Why They're Stupid

Right off the bat, I’m feisty. I’m not holding back in this one so buckle up, Buttercup. Hashtags are meant to increase your visibility to your audience while attracting new humans to your page. Humans; remember that. So while they can be super cool and helpful, they can be a royal pain in the ass. Did you know that Instagram has banned hashtags? What is a banned hashtag?

  • To put it simply, it’s spam protection because bots are taking over all of social media. (Something we can agree on right? Bots can suck it too.) So in theory, it’s a great way to stop bots. In reality, it’s a fucking nightmare for regular people and businesses.

Why is it a nightmare? Because they have banned seemingly harmless tags suck as “desk” and “happythanksgiving” and CURVES, CURVY, WOMEN, WOMAN, BABE, CURVYGIRLS… YOU KNOW ALL THE THINGS WE USE TO DESCRIBE OUR CLIENTS!!!

And do you know what pisses me off the most? Man isn’t a banned tag. Neither is men or anything related to a man. So why is it woman focused? Why can’t we display you beautiful ladies to the world without fear of getting shadowbanned? How dare we photograph women, right?!

Shadowbanned, you ask? It can mean a couple of things. Our daily posts won’t get their usual visibility so about a tenth of our followers will see the post, our account could be temporarily disabled because they think we’re spam (no, you can’t overturn it), or the account could be permanently shut down. So over the past couple of weeks, our engagement on the gram of insta has been significantly lower than usual and we were wondering why. Well it’s because they added new hashtags that are banned and I didn’t realize it. Luckily, we didn’t get disabled but how dare I use the tag Goddess?! Yup, Goddess is now banned too. Fucking stupid.

So why didn’t I realize it? Because there is no list out in there in the world. There’s no searching the tag in Instagram and it says “Sorry, can’t use this one!!”. Supposedly, it should do that. If you search one of the banned hashtags, nothing should show up. But they do. Helpful, huh? I follow several blogs that post updated banned tags when they find them but they added a ton more in 2019 and not all of them have been discovered or documented yet. So before I use any new tags, I have to go figure out if they’ve been banned. I search through the first fifteen images that show up, click on their pages, figure out what their usual following/engagements are and try to figure it out from there. For the first fifteen images. I check out fifteen different pages and check out more of their posts. It’s a time suck and a complete waste of time.

So why do I try to use new hashtags? Because if you use the same hashtag too many times, it marks you as spam. Convenient. How fucking convenient. If you use the hashtags too many times in a row, if they are in the same order, you name it, it’s a problem. I mean at this point, why even have hashtags?

But I have to use them because if we don’t, we basically go invisible. Our followers would have to go directly to our page to see us at all. We don’t have 10,000+ followers so by Instagram’s standards, we don’t exist. Isn’t that nuts?

This was my chance to rant and vent about the sexism we are still fighting even in something as stupid as a hashtag. This was my chance to rant and vent about how it sucks to need something you hate. I’m rageful. So rageful. #rage #rageful #rageisprobablybannedtoo

Thanks for coming to my rant! I feel better now. Well…. kind of ;)