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#SandraBland UPDATE: Instagram Worried About Hashtag Being Abused

Sandra Bland (Image: Facebook)

Users grew agitated on Sunday (July 26) as they noticed that hundreds of thousands of posts using #SandraBland and #JusticeForSandraBland were missing in the search results.

Instagram has since responded on why this happened.


“Content in the ‘Most Recent’ section of a hashtag can be abused because the photos and videos that appear in that section are highly visible,” wrote an Instagram spokesperson in a statement to The Urban Twist.

“To address this kind of abuse, we may temporarily restrict the visibility of content that appears under a hashtag to the ‘Top Only’ section, which we review regularly to ensure that it meets our Community Guidelines. We have removed the restrictions on #SandraBland and it is now showing ‘Most Recent’ content,” continued the statement.

According to the Huffington Post, Instagram also restricted #CaitlynJenner during the ESPYs awards earlier this month due to an increase in negativity during Jenner’s speech.

Instagram’s community rules state that “Instagram is not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups.”


“We want to foster a positive, diverse community. We remove content that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them, personal information meant to blackmail or harass someone, and repeated unwanted messages,” continues the rules.

If the hate speech posted to “challenge it or raise awareness,” Instagram says it “may allow” it.

“In those instances, we ask that you express your intent clearly,” states the rules.

Huffington Post’s reporter asked Instagram spokesman “why the company doesn’t notify users, or disclose on its blog, when a restriction goes into effect.” The spokesperson said that Instagram is “considering changing the policy.”

As of today (July 27), #JusticeForSandraBland has been fully restored to show all of the posts. #SandraBland is still restricted.

Victoria Johnson
Freelance entertainment and politics writer. 1/2 of the #NerdsOnHipHop podcast. I'm also known to dabble in photography and graphic design.

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