Instagram users can once again search #curvy after the term was banned from the social media site's internal search engine for some time, causing an outrage among plus-sized women who use the hashtag to celebrate their bodies.

The hashtag disappeared from Instagram's search engine earlier this month, Mashable reported.

Instagram user Vintageortacky questioned how the term curvy could be considered harmful after learning that the hashtag was banned.

It's been brought to my attention that Instagram has banned #curvy how is the term "curvy" harmful? Link to lookbook in bio

A photo posted by Cora Alvillar (@vintageortacky) on

Other variations of the search term, like #curvygirl and #curvywoman, remained active. Some users tweaked the spelling of curvy and started posting their photos under #curvee. Some Instagram users protested the site's new policy by populating their photos with those hashtags.

"Keep calm Instagram and bring back #Curvy," wrote Curvybostongal79 overtop of one of her pictures.

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Instagram said hashtags are a great way for users to express themselves, but the company also needs to act when they are being used to spread inappropriate content. 

"In the case of #curvy, we don't like putting restrictions around a term that many people use in very positive ways, so we have decided to unblock the hashtag while taking steps to ensure that it's not used as a vehicle for bad content," an Instagram spokesperson said in an email statement to CBC News. 

The company does not allow users to post nude, partially nude, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos on Instagram, according to its terms of use.

Loey Lane, a beauty and plus-size fashion video blogger, celebrated the return of #curvy with a bikini picture.

"It's back y'all," she wrote.

Fashionpeepshow also posted a bikini picture with "#Curvy taking it back!!!" superimposed over it.

Vintageortacky joined in the celebration. She posted a picture in one of her favourite dresses, which she said "celebrates my #curvy figure!"

However, despite Instagram search indicating #curvy had more than 2.1 million posts as of Saturday afternoon, hitting search only brings back nine results. There was no option to load more pictures.

Instagram #Curvy

(Instagram)

On mobile search, all the photos appeared to be loading.

Instagram #curvy

(Instagram)

One Instagram user pointed out that while #curvy is back, #thick and #BBW, which stands for big beautiful woman, haven't been given the same reprieve.

Searching both hashtags leads to an error message. 

"Sorry, this page isn't available," the page reads. "The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed." It then offers a link back to Instagram's main page.

#BBW, #thick banned

(Instagram)

The company has previously come under fire for censoring certain types of photos, including ones of models with pubic hair, breastfeeding mothers, women's nipples and a plus-sized blogger's butt selfie.