Dozens of celebrities fall for Instagram hoax

Key Points
  • The Instagram hoax falsely claims the social media site is changing its privacy policy and will make public all of users' photos, including deleted messages.
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry fell victim to the scam, in addition to celebrities like Julia Roberts and Debra Messing, as well as musicians Usher and Pink.
  • Instagram flatly denied the hoax, saying: "There's no truth in this post."
Actress Taraji P. Henson attends the "Hidden Figures" New York special screening on December 10, 2016 in New York City.
Noam Galai | Getty Images

Instagram has been hit by a hoax that falsely claims the Facebook-owned social media site is making major changes to its terms of service.

The widely circulated fake post warns Instagram is changing its privacy policy and will make public all of users' photos, including deleted messages. It also claims the site can "use" users' photos against them in court, and says users have to repost the image in order to prevent Instagram from taking action.

The hoax post went viral earlier this week, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry sharing the post on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. He later deleted the Instagram post after acknowledging in a comment that the image was fake.

Rick Perry tweet

The fake post continues to be shared by numerous celebrities and high-profile influencers, however, including actresses Julia Roberts, Debra Messing, and Taraji P. Henson, movie producer Judd Apatow, as well as musicians Pink, T.I., and Usher.

Instagram flatly denied the hoax, which has been circulated in similar forms on Facebook over the past several years.

"There's no truth in this post," said Facebook spokesperson Stephanie Otway.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, also called foul on the hoax in a post on his Instagram Stories.

"If you're seeing a meme claiming Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it's not true," he said.

In 2015, Facebook was forced to address a similar "privacy notice" scam making the rounds on its site. Like the Instagram hoax, the scam urged users to repost the photo to prevent Facebook from distributing users' photos, information or posts without their permission.

Facebook responded to the hoax in a 2012 post, saying: "There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users' information or the content they post to the site. This is false."

The privacy policy hoax has been shared numerous times, with cases being recorded as far back as 2009, according to internet rumor site Snopes.

Instagram's Mosseri addresses deepfake videos in CBS interview