Censorship of Instagram: What? When? Where?

Apps Mar 15, 2021

Today, Instagram is one of the most popular photo and video-sharing social networking services in the world, with over 1 billion users. It is difficult to meet a person who does not have an Instagram account or has not heard of this social media platform.

Kevin Sistrom and Mike Krieger, both from San Francisco, developed Instagram, and its application appeared on the App Store on October 6, 2010.

In January 2011, hashtags were added to the application to make it easier to find particular users and photos.

In September 2011, version 2.0 of the Instagram app was released, which introduced filters, instant tilt change, high-resolution photos, optional borders, one-click rotation, and an updated icon.

In April 2012, a version of the app for the Android platform was released.

On April 9, 2012, Facebook announced the purchase of Instagram for $1 billion. Facebook transferred $300 million and about $23 million of its shares to Instagram founders. Besides, the social networking platform had pledged to pay a $200 million fine to Instagram in case of a breach of the agreement.

In connection with the photo and video-sharing platform's purchase, an update 2.5.0 was released on June 25, which received Instagram integration with Facebook.

In December 2013, Instagram introduced the Direct messaging feature.

In August 2016, Instagram Stories was launched, the prototype of which was Snapchat. Instagram Stories allows posting photos and videos of up to 15 seconds, which are available for viewing for the next 24 hours.

In June 2018, IGTV was launched. In August 2019, the company's CEO Adam Mosseri said that the platform planned to change its guidelines and functionality to combat bullying on Instagram gradually. In particular, artificial intelligence had to warn users about potentially offensive comments.

In March 2020, due to the coronavirus quarantine, Instagram launched the Co-Watching feature, allowing users to share posts with each other over video calls.

In August 2020, Instagram launched Reels, a feature within Instagram that is similar to TikTok.


  • Support of all operating systems;
  • Easy registration;
  • Take pictures and videos on the phone and post them right away;
  • Ability to like posts and leave comments on posts;
  • Filters and various tools for editing pics and videos before posting;
  • Cross-posting;
  • Search by hashtags, locations;
  • 15-sec stories that last 24 hours, live streams;
  • Special effects, background music, face filters, emojis, and stickers;
  • Direct messages;
  • IGTV, created to shoot and watch longer videos;

Countries where it is blocked:
North Korea
North Korea is the first country to ban Instagram and the country where many people don't even know what Instagram is. It is not surprising since North Korean citizens do not have access to the world-wide Internet. They live in their analog information space without world-famous social networks.

Iran blocked access to Instagram in January 2019. According to the Iranian government, Instagram was used to spread anti-government information, even though Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has more than 2 million followers on his Instagram account.

China decided to restrict access to Instagram back in 2014. Instagram was the only site not included in the Great Firewall of China. But the government decided to ban the app to prevent its citizens from sharing photos of their revelations after a pro-democracy protest that took place in Hong Kong in 2014.