Famous folks including Usher, Julia Roberts, Taraji P. Henson, Dave Bautista, Rob Lowe, Josh Brolin, Judd Apatow, Retta, Scooter Braun, Adriana Lima, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and high-profile beauty influencers all fell for an ancient social media copypasta — this time focused on Instagram and a vague threat of posts becoming “public” and able to be used in “court cases”.
Celebrities! They’re just like your credulous aunt who types spaces before all her exclamation points on her balloon-background Facebook posts!
The image that circulated in both Feed posts and Stories was a doctored screenshot of a block of text, with one or two variations on the following:
Hilariously, the text also insists that for it to be legally “valid”, it must be copied and pasted as text, not shared or screenshotted.
A version of this has been doing the rounds for years, with a Facebook-centric version first , resurfacing in 2016 (forcing Facebook to debunk it in their Help Centre), 2017, and even earlier this year.
Women’s Wear Daily that Instagram has already debunked the meme, and most of the above deleted the post within minutes or hours. (Some, including Henson's and Bautista’s, were still up at the time of writing.)
It’s wild not just because it is basically as old as MySpace but also because the post is so obviously, obviously fake, and a lazy fake at that. Not only is the word “Instagram” in a totally different font to the rest of the post, it gets ominously larger the further down the post you go, as if it is moving ever closer.
Objects in post are dumber than they appear. Image: Screenshot
That’s before you even stop to ponder exactly how a screencapped block of text would legally exempt users of a platform from a key chunk of the Terms of Service.
It was so ubiquitous that Daily Show host Trevor Noah posted a parody on his own Instagram page.
Of course, to the average non-ToS-reading, less digitally literate users (including celebs who were already stars when headshots were still distributed by snail mail) it might feel perfectly plausible in this, the age of the algorithm-based timeline panic — remember the ? — and hidden like counts.
If Instagram is a huge part of your life, your work, or both, then you might feel you’re constantly having the rug pulled out from underneath you by arguably the most powerful corporation in the world, for reasons that are never satisfactorily explained, while pleas by what seems like the entire user base (COUGH chronological timeline COUGH) are routinely ignored. So it’s understandable that some users might both not quite grasp how fundamentally wrongheaded this pointless meme is, and also grasp at anything that seems to offer some control over their digital presence in the face of yet another reported change that will apparently chip away at the little we do have.
However it happened, one thing is now clear, and that's how many of these celebs — and Cabinet members — appear to run their own Instagrams. Bless.