Instagram Banned Hashtags - 2020

6 min read
September 11, 2020

Why Instagram hashtags are not working

So you probably already know it by now but just in case you don't, a hashtag is a certain tag that allows you to sort out all your content on social media by a topic, category, or theme. Using them is very popular among bloggers.

There are lots of popular hashtags out there but you can definitely create a customized one so your followers would be able to navigate easier through your account. The content described with the right tags has high chances of being discovered by potential followers seeing as people often search for certain topics or products on Instagram using tags. And while whether they decide to start following your account, liking posts, leaving comments, and overall being active depends on the quality of your page which includes engaging content, consistency, posting schedule, and the mood a person is in, tags will definitely help increase the visibility of your page and increase engagement.

But do not think of it as of a magic code that can make people click on the "follow" button because your content is what matters the most. If your photos and videos aren't taking a user's breath away they probably won't start following you.

In other words, it is proven that hashtags are an Instagram tool that significantly helps in reaching more of the targeted audience. But the thing is that there's a list of hashtags that were banned lately. It means that they were blocked by the app because of various reasons. And the reason for you to be familiar with these hashtag lists is that using any of the blocked hashtags can lead to your account being shadowbanned.

If right now you're wondering what it means, shadowban is when your content is banned by Instagram and doesn't appear in other followers' feeds if they don't already follow you which in turn can impact your profile in a negative way. You won't be able to reach users who are on the platform but who don't follow you with the exception of those who are already your followers.

Basically, if you're using a hashtag that is already banned it means that your publication simply won't appear below it or this page doesn't even exist anymore. Moreover, your profile will be shadowbanned, other users won't be able to see your publications because of a banned hashtag even if you used other tags for your publication. Also, your photo will not be shown on the explore page of the app, and a marked location won't help the case.

Yes, shadowban is a pain in you know where. And you should probably know that the regular usage of a hashtag that was banned or having it in your old posts can force Instagram to hide your content in search results from time to time.

Your hashtags can be blocked by Instagram if you violate any of the Community Guidelines. Usually, these tags are either banned permanently or temporarily blocked. Here's the list of reasons for Instagram to ban hashtags in 2020:

  • Sharing content that doesn't belong to you and you have no right to publish it.
  • Publishing content that violates community guidelines by containing nudity in the form of private parts, intercourse.
  • Spam; banning spam tags is intended to help in limiting spammers' activity.
  • Using social networks to take part in terrorism, organized crime, and hate groups.
  • Advertising explicit content such as sexual services, selling or buying guns, or illicit drugs.
  • Disrespecting other users of the platform. This includes publishing content with hate speech, threatening verbally and/or mentioning a gun, making degrading and shameful comments meant to harm private individuals in any way.
  • Publishing content that glorifies any kind of violence (including gun violence) and self-inflicted injury.
  • Publishing graphic content that describes newsworthy events without required captions and trigger warnings.

How to search if a hashtag is blocked

If you don't want your profile to get in the list of banned accounts, search for the list of broken tags and make sure you don't risk using blocked or banned hashtags. Fortunately, there are ways to check whether a hashtag is banned:

  • Go to the Explore page of the app.
  • Search for a needed banned hashtag in the search bar.
  • If you see the message similar to the one on the picture below, it means that the hashtag you were planning to use is probably banned, and if you decide to post a publication with it, your account can be shadowbanned.

hashtags for instagrams

How to hide hashtags under your publications

Tags are really helpful in sorting out your content, every topic has its own folder, very convenient. Besides, the usage of tags can invite new followers to your page. However, does it look enticing when you publish a stunning photograph or the most gorgeous video and along with an engaging caption goes a pile of hashtags? It just ruins the whole thing. But how can you hide all those tags if you really need to use them? If you don't want your tags to appear disarranged or inauthentic it's better to hide them. And here is how you can hide them:

  • Regardless of you using an iPhone or Android, you should have an app for notes, open it.
  • Type a dot and click on the "return" button, repeat 5 times.
  • Next to the fifth dot type your hashtag.
  • Copy the text you typed and open Instagram.
  • Give your publication a nice suitable caption and publish it.
hashtag search on instagram

The list of not working hashtags in 2020


  • #alone
  • #assday
  • #always
  • #assworship
  • #asiangirl
  • #adulting


  • #boho
  • #brain
  • #beautyblogger, although #beautybloggers works
  • #bikinibody
  • #besties


  • #curvygirls
  • #costumes


  • #dm
  • #direct
  • #dating
  • #date
  • #desk


  • #elevator
  • #eggplant


  • #graffitiigers
  • #gloves
  • #girlsonly


  • #humpday
  • #happythanksgiving
  • #hardworkpaysoff, although #hardworkpaysoff???? works
  • #hotweather
  • #hustler


  • #italiano
  • #iphonegraphy
  • #instasport
  • #ice


  • #kissing
  • #killingit
  • #kansas, although #kansascity works
  • #kickoff


  • #loseweight


  • #mustfollow
  • #models
  • #master
  • #mirrorphoto
  • #mileycyrus


  • #newyearsday
  • #nasty
  • #nudity


  • #overnight


  • #pornfood
  • #petite
  • #pushups
  • #parties
  • #prettygirl


  • #ravens
  • #rate


  • #shower
  • #shit
  • #single
  • #singlelife
  • #skype
  • #saltwater
  • #snap
  • #snapchat, although #snapchat???? works
  • #sopretty
  • #stranger
  • #streetphoto
  • #snowstorm
  • #swole
  • #sunbathing
  • #selfharm
  • #samelove
  • #skateboarding


  • #thought
  • #tag4like
  • #tagsforlikes
  • #teens
  • #tanlines
  • #todayimwearing


  • #undies


  • #valentinesday


  • #workflow

Ways to avoid being blocked by Instagram

It's not that difficult to get banned on Instagram by using tags that are not working. The thing is that the app doesn't update constantly the list of not working tags (and they change often), or notifies about certain issues with your profile. You may discover that your reach is decreasing and the profile is in shadowban not straight away.

Businesses include in their content strategies the use of tags that are compatible with the products they make or services they provide. And then they simply select a hashtag from that collection when publishing a post. But to avoid unnecessary difficulties, be aware of not working tags. You might be interested in getting advice on how to escape complications aka being banned or blocked.

  • Remove not working or overused tags.
Don't take it lightly seeing as it can cost you time and money. Carefully check every single tag you're planning on using.

  • Don't go overboard
Search and elect 5-10 the most suitable to the post tags, add customized tags. And remember to use different tags for every publication because the app can decide that you're a bot or a fake account and block your page.

  • Engagement groups can work not in your favor.
Instagram is well aware of these groups and fake engagement aimed to boost the reach so don't count on them.

  • Don't use bots that are supposed to like and comment on your posts.
Instagram tries to limit the activity of spammers by blocking them, that's why you don't want your profile to be associated with spam. Organic growth might take some time but this is the best approach for growing your profile.

  • You didn't violate any of the community guidelines but the issue didn't disappear.
In this case, consider reporting what's wrong to Instagram so they could help you solve the problem.

Final thoughts

Not working tags are changing often which makes the process of navigating through them all tricky and may seem time-consuming. However, it doesn't mean that you should exclude them from your strategy because accurate tags expose your account to a bigger audience.

Besides, this algorithm seems logical because Instagram wants to create a safe space for every user, hence why the app bans accounts that promote violence (including gun violence), nudity, hate, selling guns or drugs, providing sexual services. Some of the previously listed tags may be temporarily blocked while some of them are gone permanently, so checking every hashtag will protect your content from receiving a shadowban aka losing engagement.

Search for the right hashtag that will help you to grow organically on the platform and if you're going to use a couple of them, hide them to make them less noticeable so your publication would look nice. This is the best approach for building your brand's social media presence in the long run.

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Answers on the most
common questions

How do I know if my account is in shadowban?
If you were using tags for your posts recently, and noticed a sudden decrease in engagement and reach, maybe Instagram banned you.
Why do you need to check every hashtag on the list of not working?
Because even if one of them is broken then all of them won't work and people may not see your publication.
Why can a hashtag get banned?
It's either overused and counts as spam or violates community guidelines.