Celebrity Instagram users, including Taraji P. Henson, Judd Apatow and Julia Roberts, have unknowingly fuelled a social media hoax by sharing an incorrect post about who owns images uploaded to the site.
The post — featuring inconsistent fonts and grammatical errors — claims to inform social media users of a “new” Instagram rule that would give the company control over users’ past and future photos and potentially expose them to legal trouble.
The post prompts users to share the text by a deadline to ensure that their personal content is safeguarded from this “new” Instagram rule.
Stephanie Otway, Instagram’s brand communications manager, has come out publicly to shut down the rumour.
“There’s no truth to this post,” she told WWD.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was among the list of notable names who shared the post. He has since deleted it.
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The post is also still visible on some celebrities’ accounts.
Empire star Henson shared the text, captioning it: “For the record!!! @instagram.”
Rob Lowe is also on the roster of celebrities who had yet to remove the post from their Instagram feed by Wednesday morning. He captioned the photo: “Word.”
Singer Pink acknowledged that the post might be fake but kept it up on her Instagram feed anyway.
“Better safe than sorry, even if it is a hoax. Sorry for whatever reason anyone would be offended by this. Have a nice day,” she captioned it.
Will & Grace actor Debra Messing even deleted it once and reposted it, “just in case.”
This isn’t the first time the internet has seen a hoax of this nature.
Back in 2012, a version of the same hoax was shared en masse on Facebook and called out as fake by Snopes, an online source for “discerning what is true and what is total nonsense.”
“Nothing is changing about your rights in your content,” the latest version of the policy, from April 19, 2018, reads.
The entire policy is publicly accessible online.