Following hashtags on Instagram is a great way to stay on top of the subjects and trends that interest you.
Also, it’s pretty straightforward.
All you need to do is tap your favorite hashtag, go to its page, and select Follow.
However, this process may not be that simple in some cases.
No matter how many times you tap the Follow button, nothing happens, and you get the error “couldn’t follow the hashtag.”
You may want to know whether it’s an issue with IG algorithms or if there’s something wrong with your account.
Why Can’t I Follow Hashtags On Instagram?
One of the most important reasons you can’t follow a hashtag is that the hashtag is banned and against Instagram guidelines.
If you’re sure that’s not the case, you should look for causes in your account.
You may have been shadowbanned or action-banned by Instagram, you may have login errors, or you are using a VPN.
In most cases, however, the issue will disappear without you taking action, and you just need to wait a few hours or days.
1. Banned Hashtag
Instagram doesn’t allow certain hashtags related to inappropriate subjects or those spammed by bots.
Some users use these hashtags repeatedly for more engagement.
If you search these hashtags, you may see them on the result list, but you can’t follow them.
Using these hashtags may lead Instagram algorithms to think that you’re a bot or spammer and punish you in other ways.
You can use online tools that tell you whether a hashtag is banned on Instagram.
In addition, many online sources give you a list of banned hashtags and update them regularly.
You can also use third-party tools to inspect all your hashtags and see if they’re allowed on Instagram.
These tools are specifically helpful if you post many photos or videos and use many hashtags for each post.
Manually checking the hashtags for older posts can be difficult, so these tools help automate the process.
2. You Reached Your Hashtag Follow Limit
Instagram doesn’t clearly state that there’s a limit on the number of hashtags you can follow.
However, since you can only follow 7,500 accounts on Instagram, some users have suggested that there may be the same limitation for hashtags.
To ensure that’s not the key factor behind your issue, unfollow some hashtags and see if you can follow new ones.
3. You’re Using A VPN
Using a VPN can cause instabilities in your Instagram experience and disable some features of your account.
Some features may not be available for the country’s servers you’re connected to.
In addition, a VPN changes your IP address.
If it does so repeatedly, Instagram algorithms could identify it as suspicious activity, limiting your account.
Try turning off the VPN and following the hashtag to see if it works.
4. Account Authentication Error
You may not be able to follow a hashtag because IG can’t authenticate your account due to unknown errors.
It has a simple solution: you only need to log out of your account and log back in.
To do so, go to your Profile and click the three vertical lines on the top right.
Go to Settings and scroll down to Log out.
Sign into your account again and see if you can follow hashtags now.
5. You’re Shadowbanned
Instagram doesn’t officially admit that they shadowban users for not following their community standards or for other reasons.
However, many experts believe it’s real, and you must follow some rules to avoid it.
Being shadowbanned on Instagram has different causes and consequences, one of them probably not being able to follow hashtags.
If that’s the case, you should find out why you were shadowbanned and take action to remove the ban.
Nevertheless, the platform stops the ban after a few days, but it’s worth knowing what increases the possibility of this punishment.
Here are some of the main reasons that lead to a shadowban:
A. Using Banned Hashtags
As mentioned before, Instagram blocks many hashtags because they’re against their guidelines, are spams, or are used by bots.
Some accounts use these hashtags to reach a wider audience, although they’re against Instagram’s community standards.
Some of them become spam because they’re used repeatedly, which is also against Instagram’s rules.
If you use these hashtags under your posts, Instagram could consider you a suspicious or spammy account and limit your actions on the platform.
To ensure that’s not the main factor behind your shadowban issue, you should reconsider all the hashtags you’ve used in your posts.
Check them with an online tool and remove those recognized as banned hashtags.
Remember that putting hashtags in the comments section may not be a good idea.
If one of the hashtags is spammy, you must delete the entire comment, losing the impact of the good hashtags.
B. Too Much Activity On Instagram
Although you can spend hours on Instagram performing different tasks, not everything is allowed.
You can go up and down your feed or explorer, like posts, or follow accounts without hurting your account.
However, sending too many direct messages, following too many accounts, or leaving too many comments in a short time can make you appear spammy or a bot.
In such cases, Instagram action-bans you, only allowing you to read comments and see photos and videos.
You can’t do anything like following people or hashtags.
The best remedy is to step away and not use your Instagram account for a few days.
Don’t post, comment, DM, or do any other activities on the platform.
C. Getting Reported
You may get shadowbanned if you post offensive content or anything that leads to users reporting your account.
Remember that one or two reports won’t get you banned on the platform, and depending on the scope of the reports, you may receive different punishments.
However, you should consider it a possibility if you’re shadowbanned and don’t know the exact reason.
You can ensure you haven’t broken any IG regulations by going to your Profile and tapping Settings > Help > Account Status.
In this section, you can get a comprehensive report of the activities that violated IG rules and limited your account.
D. Using Bots And Third-Party Apps
If you use bots, software, or services that promise you followers or engagement, you’re in for punishments like shadowban.
Instagram algorithms are highly sophisticated.
You can’t outsmart them to increase your reach or followers by paying money.
The only way to avoid shadowban is to act like a human user—not a bot—and grow your followers organically.
6. Temporary Bugs
Many users have reported that the issue disappeared after a while.
It could be temporary bugs in Instagram algorithms fixed by the app’s maintenance team.
If none of the above solutions work, it’s recommended to wait a few days and see if the Follow button reappears.
Meanwhile, you can try some workarounds and see if they help.
The first workaround is updating the Instagram app.
If you installed the app from Google Play or App Store, you get the available updates automatically.
However, it’s worth trying to get the latest app version with the bugs removed.
Next, you should try accessing your account on Instagram’s web version because it may not have the bugs that affect the mobile app.
7. Contact Instagram Support
If you can’t follow hashtags even after a few days, you may want to use the last resort and contact the IG support team.
Explain to them what you’re experiencing, how long you’ve had the issue, and what you’ve tried to solve it.
You may be asked to provide a screenshot of the problem or answer follow-up questions.
To access IG’s support team, go to your Profile and tap the three horizontal lines on the top right.
Tap Settings > Help > Report a problem.
How To Unfollow Hashtags On Instagram
You may want to unfollow Instagram hashtags for different reasons.
You may lose interest in a subject and don’t want to see the posts related to it in your feed.
In other cases, you may see posts related to a hashtag you never followed.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, you’ve reached the limit of hashtags you can follow and want to make room for new ones.
To find the hashtags you follow on IG, go to your Profile and tap Following.
Here, you can see a list of the accounts that you follow.
If you follow hashtags, you can will them above the accounts.
Click Hashtags to open the list and select the ones you want to unfollow.
Tap Following and select Unfollow.
Another way to unfollow hashtags is through the search button, which works when you know exactly which hashtag you want to unfollow.
Tap the magnifying glass to go to the search section and type in # with the hashtag’s name.
You’ll see a list of the hashtag’s variations, from which you should choose your target hashtag.
Select it to see the Following button, which you should tap to unfollow the hashtag.
Why Can’t I Unfollow Hashtags On Instagram?
Regardless of the method you use to unfollow a certain hashtag, you may see that it remains in the list of the hashtags you’re following.
You might notice it specifically with a hashtag that you didn’t follow in the first place.
This could be due to some experiments that the platform performs and will go away by itself.
Some users have reported that they were able to unfollow the hashtag through IG’s web version.
Another factor that can stop you from unfollowing hashtags is unfollowing too many hashtags in a short time.
In such cases, Instagram algorithms may identify you as a bot or spammy account and give you a cooldown.
You may even face other limitations, like the inability to follow or unfollow accounts.
As a result, you should wait for a few hours or days and try again later.
If it doesn’t work, simply mute the hashtag or disable its notifications to stop seeing the posts related to it in your feed until Instagram takes care of the issue.
Can People See Which Hashtag You Follow?
Following hashtags isn’t a new feature on Instagram and has been around since 2017.
It allows you to follow your interests more specifically without cluttering the list of the accounts you follow.
This way, you can have every post about your field of interest in your feed and Stories.
In addition, if you have reached the limit of 7,500 accounts that you can follow, following hashtags means you don’t miss the topics of interest.
However, if you value your privacy, you may want to know whether these hashtags are public.
The hashtags you follow work the same as your following accounts.
Everyone can see the hashtags and accounts you follow if you have a public account.
On the other hand, only your followers can see the following hashtags and accounts if you have a private account.
When you follow a hashtag, a button appears in the Following section of your profile, above Accounts.