First #Curvy, now #Goddess? Here’s Instagram’s response to the whole blocked hashtag situation
Another week, another hashtag controversy.
On Friday, Instagram lifted its ban on the hashtag #curvy after users protested its removal en masse — but now, it’s been discovered that the app has blocked another popular hashtag: #Goddess. Many users have taken to social media to voice their disappointment over the ban, especially in light of last week’s events. In particular, people have pointed out the sexist double-standards coming into play given that the word’s male equivalent remains intact.
“Dear @instagram. . . Is it true that you banned the hashtag #goddess but not #god? Dying to know why since without explanation it feels wildly sexist,” one woman wrote in an Instagram post. “If you continue to eliminate #’s that empower women I might have to discontinue my use of your app, and that would bum me out cause it’s my favorite social media outlet. Please advise.”
“Even if you never use the now banned #goddess on Instagram, this is an outrage for all women,” another woman wrote on Twitter.
As with #curvy, variations on the hashtag are still searchable — such as #goddesses and #goddessvibes — but the word by itself is not.
“[The] decision to block a hashtag typically has nothing to do with the term itself — it’s the content on the hashtag,” a spokesperson for Instagram told HelloGiggles. “We only block hashtags when they are consistently being used to share images and videos that violate our Community Guidelines.”
“In this case, #goddess was consistently being used to share content that violates our guidelines around nudity,” he continued. “We’ve taken similar action on dozens of hashtags because they were being used to share inappropriate content.”
I did a few random searches, and it’s true: A bunch of other words have also been blocked, including #bombshell, #babe, #sexy, and #hott. (Hot and hawt are fine, though, in case you were curious.) Meanwhile, far more explicit terms remain available for public search — which begs the question how Instagram decides which to block.
In the case of #goddess, like #curvy, the hashtag was largely used as an outlet for expressing body-positivity and celebrating self-love. If that selfie you just took makes you feel flawless, you should be able to say so — and owning words like “curvy” and “sexy” can be a huge source of empowerment for tons of women (and men).
While the potentially pornographic waters might get a little deeper around certain words, inappropriate content is inevitable on almost any hashtag. Rather than an attack on certain words, it seems the greater issue at hand is how Instagram filters and flags content — something the company hopes to improve moving forward.
“We’re working on a way to more quickly restore certain hashtags that have previously been blocked,” the same Instagram representative told HelloGiggles. “We’re also working on ways to better communicate our policies around hashtags.”
We love Instagram very much, and hope that #goddess — and any other banned words that many users tag as an expression of self-empowerment— are all reinstated soon.
(Image via Instagram.)