According to a report from Popular Mechanics, certain celebrities have been sharing a post on Instagram recently which claims to help protect their photos and videos from being misused. The outlet claims the hoax first began back in 2012, and it was fake then, and it’s fake now.
Rob Lowe and Julia Roberts were among thousands of people who shared it, in addition to the Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry.
The idea behind sharing the post was to protect their personal data, however, what most users don’t understand is that by agreeing to the terms of conditions on applications and other software, you’re agreeing to the sharing of personal information.
The post claims that if people don’t share the post, then Instagram will take control of the content. The spokesperson for Facebook, Stephanie Otway, who owns Instagram, said to reporters from CBS News that there was “no truth to this post.”
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According to Popular Mechanics, who laid out a breakdown of how these companies make money, Instagram sells personal data acquired from users to advertisers.
Through the acquisition of information pertaining to things like geotags, keywords, comments, and hashtags, the platform can gather info and then sell it off to marketers who want to advertise products to users. By joining Instagram and other social media platforms, users essentially agree to give up their information in exchange for the service.
As it was mentioned in passing above, this won’t be the first time such a hoax has spread like wildfire on social media. Back in 2012, a similar post proliferated, which insinuated users could stop Facebook from owning all of their pictures, videos, and posts, by sharing the hoax-post.
However, after several authoritative sources spoke out, including spokespersons for Facebook and lawyers, the public quickly realized that it was all for nothing.
Reportedly, Facebook and other social media juggernauts have previously announced their intention to combat fake news and the proliferation of potentially harmful information, although additional dangers lie in determining who will be the arbiters of truth or lies.