As it turns out, no level of fame or fortune can protect you from falling for scams on social media. You'd think that people would learn their lesson the first time around, but as BuzzFeed News recently pointed out, there are *so* many celebrities that fell for the Instagram hoax that has strangely resurfaced. Seriously, though — it's legit kind of shocking.
So, in case you're not familiar, the hoax at hand is basically a meme of sorts that appears to be a binding legal agreement preventing Instagram from using your personal photos. The text of the statement (which has a few variations, in terms of how its worded) reads in part that your pics "can be used in court cases in litigation against you." It also claims that "everything you've ever posted" will become public, "even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed" — unless you share the entirety of the message on your account.
According to screenshots captured by various outlets including Billboard, Fast Company, and Mashable, celebrities like Tom Holland, Julia Roberts, Jessie J, and Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun — among others — all fell for the joke and re-posted the "agreement" to their accounts. Most of them have since deleted it, though, seemingly realizing the error of their ways. Understandably so — it's definitely a little bit embarrassing to get fooled like that.
Now, this isn't the first time this kind of hoax has made the rounds on social media. It actually bubbled up originally way back in 2012, according to Mashable, but instead of going viral on Instagram, Facebook was the platform where everyone was posting it. That same year, Snopes debunked the faux agreement, but it ended up resurfacing yet again in 2016.
Even after all of that, though, it somehow managed to reemerge. In the text of the statement making the rounds, the whole thing is attributed to "Channel 13 News," which isn't specific to any one place — thus adding to the confusion. Apparently, some people have even been so concerned about their photos going public that they've taken the time to contact their local "Channel 13" news teams about it.
However, to reiterate, the post is fake. You don't need to post it in order to protect your precious social media content — even if your favorite celebrity says otherwise. Scroll through the list below to see some of the famous folks who got swindled by the Instagram hoax of 2019.