New Instagram Hoax Isn’t New — Or Inaccurate

Good old celebrities. They often use their platform for good. And they just as often use it to spread hoaxes and misinformation. (Like that Momo Challenge hoax that went everywhere? Thanks, Kim Kardashian!) This week it was a new Instagram hoax saying the company was changing their terms so they could use your photos for their own nefarious purposes. And, boy, did everyone flip the F out.

Who? Everyone from Julia Roberts and Usher to US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said it was a thing. It wasn’t. And these folks posted an image of a poorly-written statement saying they didn’t give Instagram permission to use their images.

As if posting a poorly-written statement with bad grammar could legally protect them or give them the right to sue the social media platform. Maybe Julia Roberts and Usher aren’t that smart without their legal team in place — though we doubt it — but you’d think a US Government official would know better. Wouldn’t you?

This new Instagram hoax isn’t that new. Nor is it the first social media hoax out there. Every couple years people fall for one on Facebook, and this time it’s just leaked over to Instagram.

But Here’s the Truth

NEWS FLASH: Instagram can use your info pretty much however they want.

A bolded line in the company’s Terms of Use says this: “We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it.” Great.

You probably didn’t read those Terms when you registered for an account. You just hit “Yes” or “Okay” or whatever the button said as quickly as you could and started posting pictures. No one reads those things. But by agreeing to use the service you basically give them permission to use those images.

SECOND NEWS FLASH: Other sites can take screenshots of those posts and use them to illustrate articles. It’s how websites get away with posting copyrighted images. They just take a screenshot of the image on someone’s personal Instagram account — credit the photo as belonging to Instagram, YouTube, etc. — and they’re set to go.

So you may want to consider that before you post that next racy pic in hopes of getting a bunch of “Likes.” Just sayin’…

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