A viral internet hoax, which has been revealed to have first appeared on Facebook in 2012 (and has been repeatedly debunked in the years since), resurfaced again this week when the “hoax meme” which had been repurposed for Instagram was posted by a number of high-profile celebrities and politicians. You might have seen it on your Instagram feed and momentarily wondered if it was real. The text, which said that a new Instagram rule would allow Instagram to publish people’s posts and messages without consent – even posts which have been deleted – was reposted by the likes of Niall Horan, Julia Roberts and Usher.

The copy and pasted note quickly hit Instagram feeds across the globe over the course of this past week with Instagram officials quickly dismissing the claims expressed by the hoax. Despite this official rebuttal of the claim, Instagram has not taken the posts down because they *technically* do not violate the platform’s terms and conditions, highlighting a potential, yet key flaw of the platform. Moreover, it shows how susceptible the platform is to the spread of misinformation.

It’s troubling that so many people posted the hoax without even questioning or taking measures to validate the claims it made, even though the text was formatted lazily with numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes. The fact that this spread so widely, with so many verified users reposting it, shows ultimately how deeply users are concerned with privacy. This illustrates just how important it is to stay sceptical online, not believing everything you read, even if someone with a little blue tick posts it.

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