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Seen this image in your social media feeds? We rate it False. Seen this image in your social media feeds? We rate it False.

Seen this image in your social media feeds? We rate it False.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 22, 2019

Don’t fall for this Instagram privacy hoax

If you didn’t see this Instagram privacy hoax in your social media feeds, perhaps it came to your attention after U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry published it on his account

Perry’s post has since been deleted, but not before people teased the former Texas governor in comments. 

"Good Morning Mister Governor, I’m an African Prince and have large sums of gold at my disposal!" one user wrote in response.

The post, which Yahoo reports also duped actors like Julia Roberts and Rob Lowe, says that Instagram has a new rule "where they can use your photos." 

"Don’t forget Deadline today!!!" it goes on. "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. … 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. … All members must post a note like this." 

This post even wound up on Facebook, where it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

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Poynter’s teen fact-checking project MediaWise debunked the post on Aug. 21, noting that the claim dates back to 2012 when Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, updated its privacy policy.

In statements to Yahoo and Time, Instagram spokesperson Stephanie Otway said "there’s no truth to this post."

In 2016, Facebook addressed a nearly identical post that used "Facebook" instead of "Instagram." 

"You may have seen a post telling you to copy and paste a notice to retain control over things you share on Facebook," a member of the company’s help team wrote. "Don’t believe it. You own your content and can control how it is shared through your privacy settings."  

By creating an Instagram account, users agree to the company’s terms of use.

"We do not claim ownership of your content," the terms say, "but you grant us a license to use it. Nothing is changing about your rights in your content. We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the service. Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our service, you hereby grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings)." 

We rate this Facebook post False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Aug. 22, 2019

Aman Batheja tweet, Aug. 21, 2019

MediaWise tweet, Aug. 21, 2019

Yahoo, "An Instagram hoax just duped Julia Roberts, Rob Lowe — and the person overseeing our nuclear weapons," Aug. 21, 2019

Mashable, "How did this ridiculous Instagram, privacy hoax from 2012 fool so many stars?" Aug. 21, 2019

Time, "The Instagram post everyone is sharing is just another viral hoax," Aug. 21, 2019

Instagram data policy, visited Aug. 22, 2019

Instagram terms of use, visited Aug. 22, 2019

Facebook, "Is this a hoax?" visited Aug. 22, 2019


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