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News18 » Tech
3-min read

The Viral Instagram Post Which You Just Saw is a #Hoax And Your Data is Fine

Actually, come to think of it, the post isn’t entirely untrue.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:August 22, 2019, 9:30 AM IST
The Viral Instagram Post Which You Just Saw is a #Hoax And Your Data is Fine
Actually, come to think of it, the post isn’t entirely untrue.

If you have been on Instagram anytime in the past few hours, you probably would have seen a post going viral. To cut a long story short, it is a hoax. This post is a screenshot of a very poorly written warning that Instagram is changing its privacy policy, and that all your posts and messages will become public unless you also share this post. Well, a lot of celebrities also fell for this hoax—some of whom have since deleted the posts from their Instagram accounts. The Facebook owned Instagram has since confirmed that this post has nothing to do with them, or any possible policy changes. “Heads up! If you’re seeing a meme claiming that Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it’s not true,” said Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, in his Instagram story which has now lapsed. Instagram Stories expire after 24 hours of being posted.

The badly written #hoax post says “Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from today. Even messages that have been deleted or photos not allowed.” After attempting to sow the seeds of fear (it has clearly worked as expected), the post follows that up by suggesting, “it costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry.” Clearly, a lot of Instagram users thought it was prudent to follow this free advice. Then, the post changes tune in an attempt to order Instagram around. “With this statement, I give notice to Instagram it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents.” The same note even refers to a non-existent Channel 13 News.

Actually, come to think of it, the post isn’t entirely untrue. A glance through Instagram’s terms of use takes us to a subsection with the heading “We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it.” Instagram elaborates on this, “Nothing is changing about your rights in your content. We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). You can end this license anytime by deleting your content or account. However, content will continue to appear if you shared it with others and they have not deleted it.”

In a way, Instagram is free to do what they want with the content that you share on the network. Just that they may choose not to. We as users clearly never read the terms and conditions before signing up for any web service, and social media networks are no different. The devil is often in the detail, and we folks clearly miss it every time. It is no secret that apart from your posts, the Facebook owned Instagram has been tracking other usage metrics as well, including location and web browsing history, to show customised advertising on your timeline. Nevertheless, the way things are these days, it is very easy to spook users on social media platforms into believing their data is about to get sacrificed at the altar of privacy. And that is where a #hoax is born. Probably because users really don't understand the policies that govern their usage of any online platform. Ignorance is bliss.

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