Facebook Finally Gives Us Answers On That Viral Instagram Hoax (Sort Of)

Usher fell for it. So did Julia Roberts, Rob Lowe and Rick Perry, aka the guy in charge of overseeing America’s nuclear arsenal.

The problem, of course: It’s not true.

Claims that Facebook, or Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), is changing its terms of service and will make everything public unless users repost some poorly worded legalese are completely bogus ― and always have been.

One such message went viral earlier this week, garnering millions of impressions thanks to the many celebrities and secretary of energy who reposted the message.

“There’s no truth to this post,” Facebook spokesperson Stephanie Otway told HuffPost in an emailed statement.

As for the origins of the hoax, Otway didn’t have the most definitive answer, pointing to a Snopes item from 2012 instead.

Facebook made some tweaks to its privacy policy in 2012, and in November of that year, it revoked users’ ability to vote on proposed changes to its policies and terms of service. Soon afterward, a rumor regarding copyrighted material on the site went viral, prompting Facebook to issue a statement dismissing it as untrue:

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.

Users who sign up for Facebook, Instagram or any other website governed by terms of service agree to be bound by those terms when they sign up. Any attempt to renegotiate those terms after the fact by posting legal gibberish carries just as much legal weight as posting this: