Avoid These Flagged & Banned Hashtags on Instagram

Mar 12, 2019 4 min

It’s no secret that using hashtags on your Instagram content is a proven and safe way to expand the reach of your content. But what happens when you use flagged or banned hashtags?

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a way to group content from an Instagram photo or video. Similarly, you can think of hashtags as ‘keywords’ that describe the content you’re posting, preceded by the hash (or pound) sign. You use hashtags by writing a normal text caption, followed by a list of up to 30 hashtags that describes your content. Other Instagram users searching or following the hashtags you used may then find your content.

For instance, are you ready to post a video of your latest Yoga session? Hashtags you may use to describe your video are: #Namaste, #YogaSpirit, #Yogi, #YogaLove & #YogaAddict. Users searching for, or following these specific yoga-related hashtags may discover your Yoga video. But beware; not all hashtags will have a positive effect on showcasing your content!

What is a flagged Instagram hashtag?

Flagged Instagram hashtags are hashtags that can’t be explored on the Recent tab. If you search for a flagged hashtag on Instagram, you may be able to view the top 9+ posts under the Top tab, but the Recent tab will display this warning: “Recent posts from [#flaggedhashtag] are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.”

Instagram hashtag search for #FitBody
#FitBody was at one time a flagged Instagram hashtag.

What is a banned Instagram hashtag?

Banned Instagram hashtags are on the more serious side of hashtags to never use. These particular hashtags, unlike flagged hashtags, don’t display any content for either the Recent or Top posts tab. Banned hashtags don’t show up in the auto-complete list on the Instagram App. This actually makes them easier to avoid than flagged hashtags.

What happens if I use a flagged or banned hashtag?

You should avoid using flagged and banned Instagram hashtags at all costs. If you use them in your content, they may cancel out all other non-flagged & non-banned hashtags you’re using. This can lead to a noticeable drop in engagement (likes, DMs, comments, comment tags & follows) on the content you’re posting. Using flagged and banned hashtags may also trigger signals to Instagram’s algorithm that you’re posting inappropriate or ‘spammy’ content. If Instagram flags your account as being ‘spammy,’ your content will only reach a fraction of its potential audience. There’s also the possibility of having your Instagram account taken down without warning!

Girl on phone laying down next to a pool

How to find flagged or banned hashtags on Instagram?

Flagged and banned hashtags update on a weekly basis. Instagram does not make this list known to the public. Therefore, the only way to determine if a hashtag is flagged or banned is manually checking each hashtag. While this is easy to do, it can certainly become tedious & time-consuming.

  1. Add the hashtag you want to check at the end of this URL: https://instagram.com/explore/tags/
  2. Example. If you want to check #FitnessMen, you would visit https://instagram.com/explore/tags/FitnessMen

If you scroll down the https://instagram.com/explore/tags/FitnessMen page, you will notice that there are a few Top posts, but no Recent posts section. A warning from Instagram is also shown at the bottom of the page. “Recent posts from # fitnessmen are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.#FitnessMen is an example of a flagged Instagram hashtag.

Using the same steps from above, let’s check #Lean. https://instagram.com/explore/tags/Lean. Instagram displays no content at all for this hashtag. Instead, you get the message stating “Sorry, this page isn’t available.#Lean is an example of a banned Instagram hashtag.

Flagged & banned gym, anatomy & workout-related hashtags

To save you time when you’re tagging your fitness & workout content, we have put together this list of banned & flagged gym, anatomy & workout-related hashtags to AVOID in your fitness-related Instagram content.

List last updated: January 9, 2023


To help you save even more time tagging your Fitness content, check out Fitness Hashtags App on the App Store. Easily create a bank of up to 30 hashtags to copy and paste right into Instagram, Twitter & Facebook. Fitness Hashtags App features over 3000 highly-targeted & hand-picked hashtags in 18 areas of fitness. In addition, Fitness Hashtags App checks for flagged and banned hashtags so you don’t have to!