Yesterday I decided to check if my weekly Instagram challenge #weekwtass had received new photos. As usual, I clicked the hashtag of the challenge on one of my own photos and for my unpleasant surprise the page showed zero photos. The day earlier everything had worked fine.
I was confused. There had been photos there before and cause my photos still had the tag there should've been at least my photos listed on the page. But no, nothing.
For a sec I thought it was the Instagram app on my iPhone, so I checked the situation on Statigram, which is a Instagram webviewer. It went into a loop trying to retrieve the photos that weren't there. You could add the hashtag to your photos, but the hashtag page itself was empty.
After further investigation I noticed that other non-offensive tags had the same problem too: Any tag containing "ass" would show zero results. No matter how I tagged my photos with them. Regular words such as grass, classroom, pass, glass, tassels, assistant, ambassador, bass, cassette, passport, brass, canvasses, hourglass, embassy are all now censored.
Besides the word ass doesn't mean only a behind or an idiot, it's also an animal. As if Eeyore wasn't already depressed.
Today I also noticed this censoring doesn't apply only to ass-words, but also other words someone has found offensive. For instance the very popular tag #foodporn is now showing zero photos.
This seems like a half-assed (pun very much intended) effort to clean up Instagram. Since there are bigger problems, such as spam comments and spam accounts, maybe censoring non-offensive and popular tags isn't the way to go.
UPDATE SAME DAY 9.20 PM (4 HOURS LATER): Now the hashtags that were censored for a while are back in business. No comments from Instagram. The tags that are working include the challenge #weekwtass and the popular #foodporn. Thanks to Instagram for fixing this and lets not do this again, okay?
UPDATE Dec 1 2012: The censorship continues. Not as drastic as this case, but still rather ridiculous. Read Instagram keeps censoring hashtags for details.
I'm Mervi Eskelinen
I'm an artist, nerd and creative business wizard, dedicated to help you build the business of your dreams, market your creativity, and find a meaningful way to support your lifestyle.