Daily Beast: Instagram Arbitrarily Bans Sexual Hashtags

Oct 30, 2013 4:45 PM PST

CYBERSPACE — Image-based social media site Instagram seems to arbitrarily ban some sexual or explicit hashtags, but not others, a reporter for the Daily Beast noted in an op-ed published today.

The current list of censored words and phrases on the Data Pack technology blog reveals that while #sex, #porn, #arse and #wet are "no-nos," #dildos, #chink, #faketits and #mouthtopenis are "a-ok."

“While the intention of Instagram’s censorship was seemingly to filter out crude content, the original implementation fell short, blocking users from searching seemingly benign hashtags like #foodorgasm, #thesexpistols or #lazyasfuck due to a partial match of a blocked word,” wrote Nick Drewe of the Daily Beast.

The bans can easily be bypassed by combining two blocked words or using a longer variation, which will often result in hundreds or thousands of image results. But, as Drewe notes, most of the content that surfaces isn’t pornographic anyway, suggesting that the bans might be superfluous.   

“The results for #nipple reveal less than a handful of male-only nipples, and the hashtag #naked returns more juice than bodies,” he wrote.

To read Drewe's "Instagram’s Sex Censorship is Inconsistent and Hilarious" on the Daily Beast, click here.

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