Instagram just released a statement on broken hashtags

On the Instagram for Business Facebook Page, Instagram just released a statement to address the hashtag “issues” that thousands of people have been complaining about for years (and that I’ve covered here on this blog).

There’s a lot Instagram didn’t say. Specifically, which hashtag “issue” is addressed with this statement. There are two distinct ones that I’ve covered here on the blog:

  1. Instagram hashtags not working? We still don’t know why (Image appears in hashtag index shortly after being posted, but then disappears a few seconds later so that no one, not even the original poster, can see it in the index.)
  2. What’s an Instagram shadow ban? It happened to me and it could happen to you too (Image appears in the hashtag index but is visible ONLY to the person who posted it and their existing followers. People who are not following do not see the image in the index.)

But they also said a lot if you read between the lines. Take this statement, for example:

“We are continuously working on improvements to our system with the resources available.”

Translation: “This isn’t important to us. This issue is not urgent. We have zero interest in devoting any resources to fixing this. We’d rather focus on continually adding stupid features nobody asked for, like posting 10 videos at a time in a carousel.”

Let’s look at another part of the statement:

“…we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags.”

Translation: “Hashtags won’t be around on Instagram forever. We’ll get rid of them soon, or de-emphasize them, or replace them with some other way of surfacing content.”

Last one:

“Having a growth strategy that targets the right audience is essential to success on Instagram.”

So Instagram wants us to somehow target the “right” audience without using audience targeting tools like hashtags. Say what?

It’s great that Instagram finally acknowledged that there is in fact a problem with hashtags, though it’s worth noting they did not put this statement on their blog or their Twitter. It exists only on a Facebook Page that most Instagram users probably don’t even know exists.

Want to discuss this more? I’ve started a thread in the /r/Instagram subreddit.

  • I’m confused as to how I am to be seen by the right audience if I am not able to use hashtags. I wonder if they’re going to start forcing users to pay for advertising like on FB. This is problematic for people like me – I’m not a large business, I’m a small personal brand who is currently not even earning any money through my online presence, having to pay to be seen takes away from my ability to grow on Instagram.

    http://instagram.com/busyzenlife