NEWS

Instagram brings back #curvy to search results

07/25/2015 05:22 EDT | Updated 07/25/2016 05:59 EDT
Instagram users can once again search #curvy after the term was banned from the social media site's internal search engine for some time, causing an outrage among plus-sized women who use the hashtag to celebrate their bodies.

The hashtag disappeared from Instagram's search engine earlier this month, Mashable reported.

Instagram user Vintageortacky questioned how the term curvy could be considered harmful after learning that the hashtag was banned.

Other variations of the search term, like #curvygirl and #curvywoman, remained active. Some users tweaked the spelling of curvy and started posting their photos under #curvee. Some Instagram users protested the site's new policy by populating their photos with those hashtags.

"Keep calm Instagram and bring back #Curvy," wrote Curvybostongal79 overtop of one of her pictures.

Instagram did not return CBC News' request for comment. But, a company spokesperson told multiple news outlets that the term was banned because some content donning the hashtag violated Instagram's rules about nudity. The company does not allow users to post nude, partially nude, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos on Instagram, according to its terms of use.

However, Instagram recognized that many of its users use #curvy positively, rather than to spread problematic content, a spokesperson told Mashable. The company decided to reinstate the ability of users to search for photos with the hashtag, but with some controls to ensure its not used to spread content that violates its terms of use.

Loey Lane, a beauty and plus-size fashion video blogger, celebrated the return of #curvy with a bikini picture.

"It's back y'all," she wrote.

Fashionpeepshow also posted a bikini picture with "#Curvy taking it back!!!" superimposed over it.

Vintageortacky joined in the celebration. She posted a picture in one of her favourite dresses, which she said "celebrates my #curvy figure!"

However, despite Instagram search indicating #curvy had more than 2.1 million posts as of Saturday afternoon, hitting search only brings back nine results. There was no option to load more pictures.

On mobile search, all the photos appeared to be loading.

One Instagram user pointed out that while #curvy is back, #thick and #BBW, which stands for big beautiful woman, haven't been given the same reprieve.

Searching both hashtags leads to an error message. 

"Sorry, this page isn't available," the page reads. "The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed." It then offers a link back to Instagram's main page.

The company has previously come under fire for censoring certain types of photos, including ones of models with pubic hair, breastfeeding mothers, women's nipples and a plus-sized blogger's butt selfie.

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