Most Instagram photos have filters applied to make them look more retro/cool. Instagram users are also able to apply tags to a photo to help categorize and promote them to the Instagram community. One such tag, #nofilter, is intended to emphasize such natural beauty that no filter is necessary to enhance the image. (or the photographer is just too lazy to decide on a filter)

But how many #nofilter images actually have no filter?

As it turns not, not all of them.

After retrieving about 50,000 images through the Instagram API (code available on GitHub), here is the breakdown of filters on #nofilter-tagged Instagram images:

Only 83% of #nofilter images have no filter?! You had one job, Instagram! :(

The actual reason that this is happening is because Instagram rewards #tagspamming. More on that in a future blog post.


Max Woolf (@minimaxir) is a Software QA Engineer living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 4 years and a 2012 Carnegie Mellon University graduate in Business Administration.

In his spare time, Max uses Python to gather data from public APIs and ggplot2 to make pretty charts from that data.

You can learn more about Max here, or view his portfolio here.