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Big Celebrities Duped by Viral Instagram Hoax

Dominique Adams


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A viral copyright hoax that has been fooling some of the platforms biggest influencers has been debunked by Instagram boss Adam Mosseri. 

Julia Roberts, Pink, Tom Holland, Judd Apatow and even the head of the US Department of Energy, Rick Perry, are among those who have been duped into sharing a hoax memo that has been circulating on Instagram.

The false message, which has been shared millions of times, claims that the platform is about to introduce a new rule to its privacy policy. It warns that by failing to share the memo they will grant anyone permission to use their photos, videos and messages.

The post stated: “Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from today. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed.” To add authenticity to its claims, it said that this new rule has been discussed on Channel 13 news. 


The hoax has gained such momentum that Instagram chief executive Adam Mosseri has had to step in and notify users that the post is fake.

Mosseri wrote on Instagram: “Heads up. If you’re seeing a meme claiming that Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it’s not true.” Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told The Verge: “There’s no truth to this post.”

In reality, Instagram states that it can use someone’s content however it likes, though it does not have full ownership of the pictures or videos.

The platform’s rules note that it has a “non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and creative derivative works of your content”.

However, Instagram’s terms of service reads: “We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it.” It also notes that the user can end that license at any time deleting by their content and account.

This type of hoax is not new to social media and was very common on Facebook, but such incidents are a stark reminder of how quickly and easily misinformation can spread across social media platforms.

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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