The Brief: A copypasta hoax about changes to Instagram's privacy policy has been circulating, but don't worry, your photos are safe.


The Facts About The Instagram Photo Sharing Hoax

A fake message about changes to Instagram’s rules has been going viral online in a copypasta hoax that has fooled some prominent celebrities and public figures.

Slightly different variations of this message have been spreading. One frequently reposted screenshot reads:

“Don’t forget tomorrow starts the new Instagram rule where they can use your photos. Don’t forget Deadline today!!! It can be used in court cases in litigation against you. Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from today Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry. Channel 13 News talked about the change in Instagram’s privacy policy. I do not give Instagram or any entities associated with Instagram permission to use my pictures, information, messages, or posts, both past and future.With this statement, I give notice to Instagram it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11308-103 and the Rome Statute. NOTE: Instagram is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tacitly allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. Instagram DOES NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION TO SHARE PHOTOS OR MESSAGES”

If the spelling and grammar errors didn’t make it clear, this message is not based on truth. UCC 1-308-11308-103 and the Rome Statute is the treaty that established the International Criminal court, which has nothing to do with digital privacy. It should be noted that anyone who has an Instagram has agreed to their Terms of Use.

Similar iterations of this hoax have been circulating on Facebook and Instagram since at least 2012. It’s unclear who started this hoax or why, and its effects, while widespread, appear to have been relatively harmless.

Celebrities That Fell For It

If you, your friends, or family members believed this hoax, or even went as far as to repost it, don’t worry; you are not alone. Dozens of well-known celebrities (many of whom are baby boomers and may lack the meme literacy of generations who grew up online) appear to have fallen for this too including Martha Stewart, Rob Lowe, Julia Roberts, Debra Messing, Usher, P!NK, United States Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and others.


Instagram Hoax Remix Memes

Many of those who didn’t fall for the hoax, or who are looking to cover up the fact that they did have been posting jokey meme versions of the warning message.

More than one clown meme has been made in reference to those who reposted this hoax…