And You’re Not Going To Tell Me WHICH Hashtags?

Among Calico’s many great pleasures is reading hyperbolic scare-pieces, especially those reported at the local news level. Sure, the national news can get us all worked up about big ticket stuff like Ebola, terrorism and drug cartels, but if you want panic over something truly mundane, you’ve got to dig below the national news level.

Take a recent report from a TV station in North Dakota, for example, which warns people of “secret hashtags” being used on Instagram to expose poor, unwitting internet users to something they’d surely never expect to see on the internet: Porn!

funny hashtags

As she often does, Calico has questions about these secret hashtags. For starters, if these hashtags are so secret, how did KVLV 11 in fucking Fargo manage to break the story before the Washington Post? Who decides what constitutes “porn” in this context? Is the porn any good?

Most important, of course, is the question Calico reserved for the title of her latest post: “And You’re Not Going To Tell Me WHICH Hashtags?”

by Calico Rudasill, Porn For Women and Couples

Next to stories about goofy sex surveys and dumb, inaccurate stories about science-related topics, my next favorite type of ‘news’ article is a good, old-fashioned scare piece.

The great thing about a scare piece is you don’t even have to be specific about the scary thing in question – you can just reference in vague fashion an alleged terror sweeping the nation (or even the whole planet!), or some random incident which you then hypothesize is part of a larger trend, or even just display a frightening graphic along with an appropriately freaked-out headline.

I Must Be Doing It Wrong

My favorite recent scare piece is one about “Secret Instagram hashtags revealing sexually explicit content,” which I guess is supposed to make me feel bad about Instagram and/or the people who use it, but in truth just caused me to quickly skim the article looking for the specific hashtags in question.

According to the article (and the televised report on the same subject), “seemingly friendly” hashtags like #food and #living “are being used to flood Instagram with pornography.”

Before going any further, I’d just like to note the odd use of the word “friendly” in this context. What makes #food a friendly hashtag, exactly? I’ve eaten barracuda before, after all, and my sense is most people would not describe those visibly horrifying things as friendly. Hell, on their Wikipedia page, it says barracuda are known for their “large size, fearsome appearance and ferocious behavior” – and you know they mean it, because they spelled behavior with a u.

But I digress.

Naturally, after reading about the Instagram porn-flood being disguised by tagging porn with #food and #living, I did what any curious reader would do: Go to Instagram and search for #food and #living, of course!

While I didn’t find any porn under #food (or even any under #foodporn, oddly enough), I did find a picture of a big tiger – which I think we can all agree isn’t food, unless one happens to be an even bigger tiger. To be sure, under the two hashtags referenced by, I did find plenty of weird shit I didn’t understand at all (like this), but no porn.

I assume at this point, I should be relieved – but instead I’m just irritated, because I’m now convinced that whatever the real secret Instagram porn hashtags may be, this North Dakota news site is unfairly keeping us in the dark about them.

Be Careful What You Ask For, Linda

While I didn’t find any porn on Instagram using the specified hashtags, I did (for some reason) read the rest of the article, which included some pretty awesome comments from locals interviewed by the news station. My favorite is the following gem:

“Oh my goodness, I would wish they would block everything,” said Linda Mlauglain.

First, I’m going to saunter way out on the limb and suggest that shorted Linda a “c” in her last name.

Second…. She wishes Instagram would block everything? Call me crazy, but a photo app which “blocks everything” sounds like a recipe for a pretty bad user experience.

I can almost hear the exchanges between Instagram-using friends now:

Friend 1: Did you see the new pics I uploaded to Insta?

Friend 2: Of course not – they block everything!

Friend 1: Oh yeah, that’s right. Guess I’ll have to tweet those pics, instead.

Friend 2: Right? Oh, and be sure to wear a mask; I hear Ebola is coming.

Yes, There’s Porn On Instagram – Because People Can Put ANYTHING On There

All joking aside, there is porn on Instagram, despite the platform’s content policies prohibiting it. This is true, momentarily and intermittently at least, of every platform and site to which any user can upload content.

People can wag their big, collective finger at Instagram as much as they wish, but until and unless someone develops an artificial intelligence app which can reliably identify porn (and the even trickier part, differentiate it from “erotic art”), there will always be some porn, some of the time, on sites to which users can upload content.

Might as well get used to this fact, folks – especially you, Linda!

Now, with that settled, it’s time for me to turn off the sordid, filthy internet – and turn to my television for some good, wholesome, family-friendly, stereotype-laden violent programming.

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