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Instagram Bans Even More Hashtags, Tries to Squelch Increasing Drug Sales



Instagram has recently been forced to add a number of drug-related terms to its growing list of a banned hashtags in an effort to cut down on illegal drug sales via the photo sharing site.

The action comes after a BBC investigation found numerous posts on the site pitching everything from blotter acid to Oxycodone. According to the investigation, most sellers use Instagram to advertise their wares but then switch to private instant messaging services to work out transaction details.

Instagram’s terms of service bar account holders from using the service “for any illegal or unauthorized purpose,” but enforcement is largely community-driven. The company told the BBC that actively monitoring the service for such posts would be “impractical and invasive,” and so instead, it encourages users to flag posts that violate Instagram rules.


According to The Guardian, an Instagram representative also told the BBC that it is not responsible for anything that happens off-site, saying, “People can’t buy things on Instagram; we are simply a place where people share photos and videos.”

Previous investigations have focused on Instagram as a conduit for sales of everything from guns to sacrificial animals.

While Instagram continually tweaks its list of banned hashtags, it seems to have a ways to go in eliminating druggie content. Hashtags ranging from #ecstasy to #420 and #kush were still returning scads of active, commerce-oriented posts as of Monday.

(via The Guardian)

Image credit: State Police Drug Bust by Alex Bell