instagram censoring iphoneography hashtag

Using the #iphoneography hashtag is wasting keystrokes on Instagram. Here’s why.

Instagram hashtags are a great way to label your image to make it easier for others with similar interests to find your photos. If you’re like many iPhone users on Instagram, you tag your photos with #iphoneography hashtag to help identify the style of photography.

It seems that lately using the #iphoneography hashtag on Instagram is a waste of time and typing. Although Instagram will let you type #iphonoegraphy as a hashtag, it returns zero results when doing a hashtag search using the term. Basically, Instagram may be censoring the #iphoneography hashtag.  >>>

WARNING: This post contains search terms that may be slightly NSFW.

I have no problems using the #iPhoneography hashtag on my images. However, Instagram doesn’t alert me that it’s incorrect, unusable or that it will be excluded from search.

Doing a hashtag search for the term, either in Instagram’s Explore tab or on Statigram returns zero results. Performing a hashtag search of #iphonography, minus the “e” and also Instagram’s preferred style of referencing iPhone photography, returns over 2.7 million results.

The #iphoneography hashtag results are not redirected. The tags are simply going nowhere. Is this a licensing issue, premptive trademark prevention or simply a not-so-subtle way of Instagram enforcing its preferred spelling of the word?

Instagram has not net replied to my email asking about this matter.

Instagram censors other tags as well, including many that violate its terms of service. In light of recent news stories about the spread of Teen P*rn throughout the service. A hashtag search of phrases like “boobs”, “porn” and others also come up empty, so Instagram definitely censors hashtags. Surprisingly, other hashtags like “nsfw”, “ana”, and “boob” return thousands of tagged images, many of them graphic.

If it’s a case of potential trademark infringement, here’s a list of other heavily protected trademarked terms I did an Instagram search for today:

#dallascowboys    39,910 photos
#nfl        168,869 photos
#mlb        99,877 photos
#oscars        13,608 photos (The Academy aggressively protects its trademarks)
#android    926,934 photos
#androidography    122,905 photos
#droidography    10,155 photos

#apple    1,135,799 photos
#mac    767,149 photos
#iphone        No tags found
#iphoneography        No tags found
#iphonography        2,732,852 images found

According to Wikipedia, “iPhoneography” is the correct spelling. Searching for “iPhonography” doesn’t even redirect. Either Instagram has put its clout behind a misspelled word or its using its reach and influence to try and change the community. While it seems I’m splitting hairs, I recently wrote about the importance of the consistency of the the iPhoneography brand. Instagram now has a rapidly growing base of over 80 million users. This is a significant and influential omission.

Instagram user Rick Cortes says, “I noticed this months ago. A little annoying. And the Instagram community has adapted by misspelling the word.”

Is this a case of Instagram censoring the hashtag “#iphoneography” in favor of its own implementation of the word? The question isn’t whether they’re doing it. The question is why.



Big thanks to Stacy Anderson, Rick Cortes, and reader Oniontears for their help in getting this post written. =M=