Welcome to the club, Instagram. The social media site has been hit by a classic hoax that immediately went viral.
Facebook users easily spotted the hoax, as some variation of it has cropped up on the site over the past 10 years. Now, it has been spread on Instagram thanks to a number of entertainment stars and even a member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet.
We’ll detail the hoax for you including some of its bizarre claims. We’ll also show you some of the hilarious Tweets that dogged the celebrities who fell for it.
Instagram is coming for your posts
The hoax is an image of a lengthy, error-riddled warning to Instagram users. It claims the social media site would take ownership of every photo and comment. Then it mentioned Channel 13, an “ah-ha” moment for those in the know as every version of the hoax mentions a mysterious Channel 13.
By the end, the message went off the rails when it stated that Instagram was violating “UCC 1-308-11 308-103” and “the Rome Statute.” The Uniform Commercial Code is a broad set of commercial laws, while the Rome Statute is the treaty that formed the International Criminal Court to prosecute genocide and war crimes.
Instagram is owned by Facebook. No matter your thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg, you have to admit his actions haven’t risen to the level of war crimes.
Major stars such as actresses Julia Roberts and Debra Messing, film producer Judd Apatow and musicians Pink and Usher fanned the viral flame by posting the message. It appears most of the stars have deleted the post, with the exception of Pink, who owned up to it.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry made the mistake of posting the hoax on Twitter. Naturally, trolling followed.
Oh… No, sir. No. pic.twitter.com/XLs6MEQygS
— owlet up when he’s gone (@wickedsmartface) August 21, 2019
Now that we know baby boomers will fall for any gag on the internet we should really up our game.
— J Cook (@JHowieCook) August 21, 2019
— Commander of Cheese (@Eclectic_otter) August 21, 2019
But, never fear. “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah stayed calm and carried on.
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The social media hoax that won’t die
Besides sending the uninitiated into a fit of anger or confusion, the hoax is harmless. No one gets duped out of money, your data isn’t compromised and you haven’t unknowingly downloaded malware.
You see, a variation of the hoax has been around since 2009. That’s when it first debuted on Facebook and was immediately debunked by Snopes.
In 2009, a hoax claimed that Facebook would begin charging users. As expected there was an uproar and Facebook had to issue a statement saying it wasn’t true. The same hoax was repeated in 2010 and 2016.
Last year, Facebook had to deal with another hoax. In that case, users got a post that said, “If you received a second friend request from me, don’t accept it. I’ve been hacked.”
The message then told people to forward it to all of their contacts. Of course, it set Facebook ablaze. There was no hack only a hoax.
Yes, social media can be a scary place, but remember, not all bad behavior is criminal. Some people simply want to get a good laugh, especially if it comes at the expense of the rich and famous.