AP NEWS

Claim Instagram users must repost privacy message is a hoax

August 22, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Instagram is changing its privacy policy, and to stop the platform from acquiring users’ photos they must repost a message stating, “I do not give Instagram or any entities associated with Instagram permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The post is a hoax. “There’s no truth to this post,” Stephanie Otway, Facebook company spokesperson, told The Associated Press in an email on Wednesday.

THE FACTS: A post circulating widely on Instagram falsely claims the social media platform is changing their privacy policy and urges users to repost the message to protect their information. 

“Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from today even messages that have been deleted...,” the post falsely claims. “If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tacitly allowing the use of your photos.” 

“Heads up! If you’re seeing a meme claiming Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow. It’s not true,” Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, posted on his Instagram story on Tuesday. 

Versions of the hoax can be found on Facebook dating to at least 2012, when a Facebook post with similar phrasing surfaced. 

The note, loaded with grammatical and punctuation errors, warns that there is a “deadline” for users to repost the message before Instagram changes its policy. Instagram photos “can be used in court cases in litigation against you,” the post falsely states. 

Dozens of high-profile figures shared the message, including celebrities Rob Lowe, Debra Messing, Taraji P. Henson and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. In a now deleted post, Perry, who oversees nuclear arsenal wrote, “Feel free to repost!! #nothanksinstagram.” 

Instagram does collect information from its users. “We collect the content, communications and other information you provide when you use our Products, including when you sign up for an account, create or share content, and message or communicate with others,” Instagram states in its data policy.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536