Instagram disabled a popular hashtag feature during the US presidential election, but when will it be back? Here’s what we know.

The 2020 election has been different to any previous elections for one main reason – social media. Every year, social media advances, which can be both a positive and a negative thing when it comes to politics.

This year, voter turnout was bigger than ever before, and that could be due to the way social media can influence voters. However, the internet can also be responsible for a lot of misinformation, which poses a big problem in elections.

To stop voters from being misinformed during the election, Instagram temporarily disabled one of its features, and users want to know when it’ll be back.

Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

Instagram disable ‘recent’ hashtags

When you type in a hashtag on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that you are greeted with two categories, ‘top’ and ‘recent’.

If you want to view the most popular posts under that hashtag, you would choose ‘top’, but if you want to see the posts by chronological order of when they were posted, you’d choose ‘recent’.

On October 29th, days before Election Day, Instagram took to Twitter to reveal that they would be disabling the ‘recent’ feature to make it more difficult for people to spread election-related misinformation on their platform.

Instagram said:

“As we near the U.S. elections, we’re making changes to make it harder for people to come across possible misinformation on Instagram. Starting today, for people in the U.S. we will temporarily remove the ‘Recent’ tab from hashtag pages. We’re doing this to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that could pop up around the election.”

When will ‘recent’ hashtags be back?

It’s been a week since Election Day, and Instagram has still not enabled the ‘recent’ hashtags feature again, so when will it be returning?

  • Instagram hasn’t revealed when you will be able to use the feature again, but it’s likely to be when content surrounding the US Election has stopped flooding social media. Therefore, the hashtag feature could be hidden for the whole of November.

Instagram’s reasoning for disabling the feature was to stop the spread of “misinformation” and “harmful content” around the election, therefore it’s likely that the feature will return when the election is over.

Whilst it may seem like the election is over as Joe Biden has been declared the next president, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the election, with recounts and lawsuits currently taking place.

Therefore, it’s likely that Instagram could be delaying the feature for a little longer until social media content and opinions surrounding the election subsides.

Twitter users express anger over the disabled feature

Lots of people have taken to Twitter to reveal their anger over the disabled feature, claiming it’s unfair for Instagram to get rid of the ‘recent’ hashtags for so long.

One Twitter user said: “So when are you lifting the recent section for hashtag restrictions? The election is over.”

“Please update on the recent hashtag situation. You are actively harming small creators and businesses who support your application with this ridiculous act of censorship,” said another.

Many Instagram creators rely on the use of hashtag to advertise their posts and receive engagement, with many people arguing that disabling this feature is negatively impacting them.

The feature is only disabled in the USA and does not affect users in other countries.

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