TTP Investigation: Instagram’s Selective Hashtag Blocking Favored Trump, Hurt Biden

Today, the Tech Transparency Project released a report revealing unequal treatment of Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Instagram. Until early August, when a user searched for a hashtag on Instagram and clicked on it, the platform recommended “related hashtags” that users may find relevant. But TTP’s investigation found that Instagram disabled the related hashtag feature for key Trump-related terms, while allowing parallel Biden terms to get hijacked by disinformation and smears. After being questioned about the unequal treatment by a reporter, Instagram claimed that the discrepancy was the result of a bug, and would be suspending the related hashtags feature until they can investigate the issue.