Instagram claims 'bug' pushed negative hashtags for Joe Biden and hid same tags for Donald Trump


Is Instagram politically biased? Firm claims ‘bug’ pushed negative hashtags for Joe Biden and hid the same tags for President Donald Trump – as it’s revealed it’s disabled its ‘related hashtag’ feature

  • Instagram has disabled its ‘related hashtags on its platform as of Tuesday
  • The move follows a report that suggests the firm was favoring Donald Trump
  • The report found related hashtags were removed from favorable Trump content
  • However, related hashtags were displayed for Joe Biden and some vulgar 

Instagram has come under fire for hiding ‘related hashtags’ for content favoring President Donald Trump and displaying more ‘vitriol’ tags linked to Joe Biden, according to a report from Tech Transparency Project (TTP).

When users searched for Biden-related hashtags, the were shown a number of options, including #creepyjoe and #joebidenpedophile, but nothing was displayed for content about the president.

BuzzFeed News first contacted the Facebook-owned company about the issue, which said it was not favoritism, but a bug that had also prevented thousands of non-political hashtags from producing related hashtags -and has since removed all ‘related hashtags.’

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When users searched for Biden-related hashtags, the were shown a number of options, including #creepyjoe and #joebidenpedophile, but nothing was displayed for content about the president

When users searched for Biden-related hashtags, the were shown a number of options, including #creepyjoe and #joebidenpedophile, but nothing was displayed for content about the president

Instagram spokesperson Raki Wane said: ‘A technical error caused a number of hashtags to not show related hashtags.’

‘We’ve disabled this feature while we investigate.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to Instagram and has yet to receive a response.

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Social media platforms have been chastised by Republicans for being too liberal and favoring Democratic officials.

Instagram has come under fire for hiding 'related hashtags' for content favoring President Donald Trump and displaying more ‘vitriol’ tags linked to Joe Biden

Instagram has come under fire for hiding ‘related hashtags’ for content favoring President Donald Trump and displaying more ‘vitriol’ tags linked to Joe Biden

Hashtag searches for #JoeBiden produced over 390,000 posts tagged with the former vice president's name alongside related hashtags chosen by Instagram's algorithm

Similar searches for #DonaldTrump reportedly showed more than 6.7 million posts that were tagged with the president's name, but did not display any related hashtags with an opposing viewpoint

Hashtag searches for #JoeBiden produced over 390,000 posts tagged with the former vice president’s name alongside related hashtags chosen by Instagram’s algorithm.  Similar searches for #DonaldTrump reportedly showed more than 6.7 million posts that were tagged with the president’s name, but did not display any related hashtags with an opposing viewpoint

However, the new developing regarding Instagram suggests otherwise.

When a user searches Instagram using a hashtag, ‘related hashtags’ are presented to guide them to similar content.

And this is where the issue arose.

TTP shared their findings with BuzzFeed News, which contacted Instagram to conduct a further investigation. 

TTP looked at hashtags for 20 popular terms associated with Trump and Biden.

The searched resulted in related hashtags being disabled for the president, but listed a number of related tags, some vulgar, for the Democrat candidate.

Katie Paul, a director with the Tech Transparency Project, said: ‘What we’ve seen with the related hashtags with Biden is that there is so much vitriol, that it appears to be benefiting President Trump.’

Because related hashtags were not shown for a number of Trump-related phrases also ‘removes any possibility that negative hashtags could be associated with his name or campaign slogans,’ she added.

Hashtag searches for #JoeBiden produced over 390,000 posts tagged with the former vice president’s name alongside related hashtags chosen by Instagram’s algorithm. 

And these posts also showed pro-Trump tags, Buzzfeed noted.

Similar searches for #DonaldTrump reportedly showed more than 6.7 million posts that were tagged with the president’s name, but did not display any related hashtags with an opposing viewpoint. 

The social media platform appeared to disable all related hashtags from the platform.

Instagram has yet to give details regarding the source of the ‘bug’ or why and how it was only affecting certain hashtags and not others.



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