Why Eggplant Is The One Emoji Instagram Won’t Let You Search


1. Instagram just announced that you can hashtag and search by emoji. Great! Cool! It turns out people have already been doing this, so there’s photos for every emoji, even the super-boring ones.

LITERALLY, WHO USES THE GRAPH EMOJI??????????? Plenty of people, apparently.

2. But if you search for the eggplant (the universal emoji for penis)… NO TAGS FOUND.

Instagram blocks certain hashtags that have graphic or harmful content, like #porn or pro-anorexia terms like #thinspo. This doesn’t mean there isn’t content on Instagram with those tags, but they purposely block them from search.

It appears that Instagram is smart enough to know that eggplant = penis in emoji-speak. (You can’t search for #penis either.)

3. Even when people are definitely using it! We tested it out and this won’t come up in search:

4. Even the poop emoji, the gun, the syringe, and the pill all have results.


The gun has 4,865 posts, cigarette has 1,837. And yet this wholesome purple nightshade plant is FORBIDDEN!


BuzzFeed News has reached out to Instagram for comment.


Instagram confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the eggplant emoji is indeed blocked from search because it consistently is used for content that violates their community guidelines.

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Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at

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