The Georgia Tech researchers have analyzed over 2.5 million posts on Instagram from 2011 to 2014. All these posts are linked with one subject – pro-eating disorder supporters, i.e. anorexy propagandist. The researchers discovered that for every banned hashtag there were about 40 new versions that are just slightly different from the original. For example “thighgap” became “thightgap” and “thygap” etc.
As the result, the usage of banned words has lowered, while their altered versions bloomed. Posts containing these words cannot be found in the search, but they still can be posted, although if a modified version of a tag is used, searching is possible.
The research has found that new hashtags get about 15-30% more comments and likes than originals. The Georgia Tech has proposed another way to deal with the problem: “Allow them to be searchable. But once they’re selected, the landing page could include links for help organizations,” said Chancellor. “Maybe the search algorithms could be tweaked. Instead of similar terms being displayed, Instagram could introduce recovery-related terms in the search box.”