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Instagram exists only to share One Direction photos

Even one of their girlfriends is more popular than Katy Perry on Instagram. 


Kris Holt

Internet Culture

One Direction dominates Instagram even more so than the pop charts.

The five members of the British boy band—Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson—account for the top 5 celebrity hashtags used in the photo-sharing community. Even Larry Stylinson—fandom’s dream pairing/conspiracy theory involving Styles and Tomlinson—has more of a presence there than most real pop stars, with 526,088 tagged photos to date, while the group itself, #onedirection, ranks higher than any brand or person around, with 22,813,818 photos tagged.

Simply put, Instagram is all 1D, all the time. (Unsurprisingly, a similar trend appeared with Tumblr tags as well.)

To get an idea of how the rest of the pop spectrum stacked up on Instagram, we trawled through the top hashtags used, ranking people based on the mentions of their full names or the name they’re best known by.

A couple of notes: Instagram hides some tags from search results and third-parties that use Instagram data. The number of tagged photos we pulled from also includes mentions of those tags in photo comments. Lastly, we’re only ranking real people here; #harrypotter and #batman would have beat out several people on our list.

1) #harrystyles // 12,381,313 tags

Given that One Direction fans often tag every member of the group in a photo in which one of them appears, or even images in which none of them appear or are completely unrelated, it’s no surprise the band’s heartthrob tops the list. He’s currently the only person to crack the top 100 tags. The hashtags #harry (4,493,042 tags), #hazza (2,626,960), and #styles (2,320,449) also refer to the teen idol, who turned 19 Friday.

Photo via @zenmaliksbabe/Instagram

2) #niallhoran // 11,222,104 tags

Niall Horan-related tags #niall (4,116,725 tags), #nialler (2,533,208), and #horan (1,252,945) are also kind of a big deal.

Photo via @omglarreh/Instagram

3) #zaynmalik // 9,235,743 tags

Zayn Malik is yet another 1Der with popular secondary tags: #zayn (3,790,483 tags), #malik (1,110,638), and #djmalik (1,695,094), because apparently he works the ones and twos on the side.

Photo via @stylestakesover/Instagram

4) #louistomlinson // 9,041,026 tags

The oldest member of the group, Tomlinson is also often tagged #louis (3,869,518 tags) and #tomlinson (1,062,714).

Photo via @howhazzametlou/Instagram

5) #liampayne // 8,861,397 tags

The Chris Kirkpatrick of One Direction, Payne ranks a distant fifth on Instagram. But if it’s any consolation, he’s still more popular there than Justin Bieber (see below). You can also find him with the tags #liam (3,623,528) and #payne (1,017,739).

Photo via @rythmyx/Instagram

6) #justinbieber // 5,478,301 tags

He may be sixth on this list, but Bieber certainly knows how to make noise on Instagram. A photo of him mocking boxer Manny Pacquiao in December led to threats of him being banned in the Philippines, while a photo of his bare butt from January received 100,000 likes before being pulled. Related tags of note: #bieber (1,856,465 tags), #justin (1,838,295), and #jb (1,153,258).

Photo via @believeinrauhl_/Instagram

7) #taylorswift // 2,219,543 tags

As you can tell by now, young, photogenic stars are kind of popular on Instagram. Country’s rising queen of heartbreak is no exception.

Photo via @taylorswift/Instagram

8) #selenagomez // 1,534,932 tags

Disney Channel star Selena Gomez seems to be instagrammed more than any woman other than Swift.

Photo via @ebba_sunny/Instagram

9) #rihanna // 1,256,832 tags

Rihanna keeps a controversial Instagram feed, stacked with photos of blunts and Chris Brown. Other instagrammers are more than happy to share images of the star, too.

Photo via @picturesfame/Instagram

10) #demilovato // 1,226,241 tags

Singer-songwriter and actor Demi Lovato joined Instagram in December and has more photos tagged with her name than she does followers (300,180).

Photo via @ddlovato143/Instagram

11) #ladygaga // 844,319 tags

Is Lady Gaga’s popularity fading? She relinquished the title of the most-followed person on Twitter to Bieber last month, and she just missed the top 10 here. A small consolation: 390,155 photos were tagged #gaga.

Photo via @angel_little_monster/Instagram

12) #nickiminaj // 715,084 tags

Rapper Nicki Minaj’s outlandish style makes her an ideal target for Instagram, even if she hasn’t joined the service yet herself.

Photo via @courteney_minaj/Instagram

13) #mileycyrus // 646,460 tags

Likewise, the former Hannah Montana isn’t on Instagram, but Cyrus is an oft-mentioned and shared person in the community.

Photo via crazylovex/Instagram

14) #eleanorcalder // 616,745 tags

Eleanor Calder is not a celebrity per se but yet another beneficiary of the One Direction effect. She’s the girlfriend of Tomlinson and has 1.9 million Twitter followers and 785,058 Instagram followers.

Photo via @eleanorj92/Instagram

15) #bobmarley // 607,270 tags

The reggae icon’s legacy has barely diminished in the years since his passing in 1981. Many of the Instagram photos tagged with his name are of marijuana, as if it’s some sly code name that the authorities couldn’t possibly crack.

Photo via @beeseeare13/Instagram

Photo via @just1dd/Instagram

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