A viral post has spread across Instagram claiming that the social media platform will be able to “use your photos” from tomorrow. The post encourages users to share the post on their own profile in order to “forbid” Instagram from using their “pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future”.

The post  ends with the statement “Instagram DOES NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION TO SHARE PHOTOS OR MESSAGES”.

This has been shared by numerous high-profile figures, including United States Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and former boy band star Niall Horan, who boasts 21.7 million followers on the platform. Many of these posts have since been removed.

Instagram has since confirmed that the post, which cites laws and media companies as its source, is a hoax: “There’s no truth to this post,” Stephanie Otway, Instagram’s brand communications manager, told WWD.


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The new Instagram rule hoax appears to be a modified version of a similar image that has been circulated on the Facebook platform in the past.

A similar message spread on Facebook in 2016, claiming that “everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from tomorrow”, and spread again on Facebook as recently as last month.

This isn’t a new Instagram rule. It’s an old one…

Celebrities that reposted the message were bombarded with comments calling them out for falling for the hoax.

Users do not need to share the hoax image in order to stop Instagram from using their photos. However, that doesn’t mean that Instagram won’t have permission to use your images from tomorrow, as the social media platform already has the rights to use content uploaded by its users.

Instagram’s Terms of Use state that “We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it”:

“Nothing is changing about your rights in your content. We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings).”

Essentially, by using the service, you grant Instagram the right to do as it pleases (host, use, distribute, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate or create derivative works) with the content that you upload.

The license is royalty-free, meaning that the company doesn’t have to pay you for it. Likewise, it is also sub-licensable and transferable, meaning that it can transfer or license the content to another entity.

This has been in Instagram’s Terms of Use since at least 2013, as the same clause was present in the platform’s old Terms of Use, which became ineffective as of 13 January 2013.

Rather than sharing the new Instagram rule hoax image, the only way to ensure that Instagram doesn’t have the rights to use your content is to delete your profile entirely.

Read more: When it comes to lengthy T&Cs, these tech companies are the worst offenders