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Megan Rapinoe, Usher, Rick Perry duped by Instagram chain hoax



An Instagram chain hoax that spread like wildfire on Tuesday has caught out a whole bunch of famous names — including a key figure in Donald Trump’s administration.

The chain meme features a clumsily worded “legal” message about Instagram’s new privacy policy meaning it is going to make public all of its users’ photos and messages.

The message appears to be a rehash of a Facebook hoax that dates back to at least 2012, when a near-identical warning went viral on the social network. The same message also spread in 2016.

Read more: Facebook’s humbling deal with the FTC is the biggest assault on Mark Zuckerberg’s power in the firm’s history

Instagram won’t be making anyone’s messages public, but that did not stop the likes of Usher, Megan Rapinoe, Julia Roberts, and Scooter Braun from sharing the message to their millions of followers. Many have since deleted the hoax.

Incoming New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz named and shamed a bunch more stars, including Judd Apatow and Julianne Moore, for sharing the message in a Twitter thread.

One person who had not deleted the hoax by Wednesday morning was Rick Perry, who serves as the energy secretary in the Trump administration. “Feel free to repost!! #nothanksinstagram,” Perry wrote to his 25,000 followers.


BuzzFeed and New York Times tech reporters Ryan Mac and Mike Isaac were among those to point out that Perry is in charge of America’s nuclear program.

Instagram boss Adam Mosseri debunked the viral message on Twitter on Tuesday. “If you’re seeing a meme claiming Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it’s not true,” he said.

The timing of the hoax is not ideal for Facebook, which is working to win back the trust of users after a sequence of high-profile privacy scandals. It’s easy to see why Instagram would prefer it if household names were not spreading misinformation about it exploiting people’s private photos and messages.

One star who did spot the hoax was Trevor Noah, who posted a meme mocking the fake message. “Be safe my friends. The new Instagram law is coming now!” he joked.

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