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Celebrities are falling for a years-old Instagram scam. It’s all a big hoax

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Celebrities, politicians, and regular Instagram users have fallen for yet another hoax claiming the social network has changed its rules to make “everything you’ve ever posted” public — including deleted posts. It’s not real: There hasn’t been any rule change and posting a picture of a big block of text wouldn’t protect you if it did.

“There’s no truth to this post,” Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Instagram owner Facebook, told Digital Trends in a statement.

The fraudulent post is similar to dozens of others that have also spread on Facebook and Twitter in recent years, claiming that “Channel 13 News talked about the change in Instagram’s privacy policy” without posting the fraudulent text, “you will be tacitly allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates.”

The image looks like someone took a similar block of text about Facebook and replaced the word “Facebook” with “Instagram” — every instance of “Instagram” is bolded and not level with the rest of the text. According to the fact-checkers at Lead Stories, which called the image “fake news,” that’s exactly the case: The same image has been circulating on Facebook for years.

Despite the obviously sketchy nature of the post, a surprisingly large amount of actors, musicians, and even politicians were duped by the scam. Rick Perry, the current U.S. Secretary of Energy and former Texas governor, posted the image, along with Rob Lowe, Usher, Julia Roberts, Judd Apatow, Taraji P. Henson, and Tom Holland.

View this post on Instagram

For the record!!! @instagram

A post shared by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson) on

Even Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted that the image and its claims were a complete hoax.

“Heads up!,” Mosseri wrote on his Instagram story. “If you’re seeing a meme claiming that Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it’s not true.”

While there’s plenty to be concerned about when it comes to Instagram and Facebook’s use of your images and data, posting a big block of legal-sounding text doesn’t do anything to protect you. When you sign up for an Instagram account, you agree to the company’s terms of service. You’ll generally be notified of any major changes — and if you don’t like them, you can always just stop using Instagram.

Mathew Katz
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Mathew is a news editor at Digital Trends, specializing in covering all kinds of tech news — from video games to policy. He…
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