Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told CBS News, “There’s no truth to this post.”
The fake notice, which is riddled with typos, has already fooled the likes of U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Rob Lowe, Melissa Joan Hart and Usher and likely many others on your feed. The hoax begins: “Don’t forget tomorrow starts the new Instagram rule where they can use your photos. Don’t forget Deadline today!!!”
“Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from today Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed,” the post falsely claims. “It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry.”
In an attempt to appear credible, the notice references a “Channel 13 News” that covered the change to Instagram’s policy. It also references “UCC 1-308-11 308-103” and “the Rome Statute.”
The first appears to reference to the Uniform Commercial Code, a broad set of commercial laws. The Rome Statute is the treaty that formed the International Criminal Court, where crimes such as genocide and war crimes are investigated and prosecuted. Neither can protect you from a supposed violation from Instagram.
While some big names fell for the hoax, Trevor Noah, host of the “Daily Show,” poked fun at the meme. “Instagram you are a bad boy, don’t use my message for your badness ok! I don’t allow you for this. Now I stop you because this was also on channel 13 news!”
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This type of hoax has been around before, except with slightly different versions each time when it resurfaces. In 2012, Snopes.com debunked a similar meme that was widely shared on Facebook.
Facebook and Instagram do not claim ownership of content users post. However, as noted in the Facebook’s terms of service agreement, it needs your permission to use your content for the “purposes of providing and improving products” and other services.