What are banned hashtags on Instagram?
Hashtags are essential to any effective Instagram strategy, but you need to monitor which ones you’re using. You’re probably well aware of how crucial Instagram hashtags are, but did you know that there are over 110,000 hashtags that are banned or blocked on the platform? Unfortunately, many Instagram content creators are still unaware that they could be sabotaging themselves by using certain hashtags: banned hashtags. These hashtags aren’t doing you any favors in terms of reaching new audiences and could be detrimental to your posts visibility and your whole Instagram growth.
Instagram’s algorithm monitors hashtags you use to understand the context of your posts to distribute them to users who are most likely to be interested in the topic—using banned hashtags results in your post appearing in fewer search results or not showing up in any search results at all. That’s why it’s so important to refrain from using them.
Some hashtags get banned for good, while others are only temporarily prohibited. In addition, the blacklist of banned hashtags isn’t set in stone – it’s constantly changing. Different hashtags are getting banned and unblocked daily, depending on Instagram’s policies and community guidelines.
Why does Instagram ban certain hashtags?
Instagram’s purpose in banning hashtags is to reduce the amount of spam and automatically conceal posts that could potentially contravene the platform’s community guidelines. Adam Mosseri (the Head of Instagram), in one of his official statements, said: we may remove the Top or Recent posts in a hashtag page if people are using the hashtag to post content that goes against our Community Guidelines.
Some of the banned hashtags are related to illegal activities, violence, hate speech, and other forms of inappropriate content. While some hashtags like #promotesuicide or #showboobs are apparently problematic, there are plenty of seemingly innocuous ones on the list. So why has Instagram banned #easter, #beautyblogger, #books, and thousands of other innocent hashtags? Those hashtags must have accompanied many shadowy or spammy posts, and Instagram banned them to fight offensive, inappropriate content and spammers.
Another reason the platform bans some hashtags is to prevent the rise of misinformation, fake news, and harmful conspiracy theories. For example, the innocent-looking hashtag #happythanksgiving was completely overrun with hate speech and spam, so the platform had no choice – they’ve banned it.
How to check if you’re using banned hashtags and whether the hashtags you want to choose are safe to use?
Of course, to avoid these forbidden hashtags, first, you have to know which of them are banned. How are you supposed to know when some of them seem so harmless and innocent, and nobody would tell there’s something wrong with them? How is anyone supposed to know that #books or #happythanksgiving are considered inappropriate and marked as “spam”?
And if the blacklist constantly evolves, what if you used a hashtag that was safe to use some time ago but was blocked later?
To ensure your posts are free of banned hashtags, you’ll need to research every hashtag before using it, and conduct a hashtag audit every once in a while. Instagram won’t tell you that a new hashtag has been blocked or banned and will allow you to use it and penalize you later. That’s why it’s so important to do your own research. To save time, the smartest choice is to do it with a reliable tool with direct access to the most up-to-date Instagram hashtags database.
What happens when you use a banned hashtag?
Using a banned hashtag in your Instagram post leads to the platform concealing that post from hashtag searches and its explore pages. If you use too many of them, Instagram may flag your account, resulting in shadow banning (when the platform restricts your posts and limits their visibility without notifying you) or, in some cases, even account removal.
Your posts will only be viewable via the home feed, and it won’t reach any new audiences. So, unfortunately, it’ll significantly hurt your organic reach, your chances of going viral and diminish your growth efforts.