Leave it to Instagram users to convince each other that the application is changing their privacy policy rather than the message come from the company itself. Towards the end of last month, Instagram was hit with a viral hoax  stating that their policies are changing and your posts, comments, or direct messages (even deleted ones) could become public in the future. EEK! As an Instagram user myself, I couldn’t help but be bamboozled by this hoax. I saw the exact image in the tweet below on my Instagram feed, and stories.

At first it seemed somewhat legitimate, but as I looked closer, I knew something was fishy. Why would a multi-billion dollar social media site come out with a message about their updated privacy policy with what looks like it was written on the notes application on a smartphone.

Without further researching, I knew it was fake, and a hoax.

However, I was one of the few who didn’t fall for this trap.

But why does this this happen? More importantly, why do people create Instagram hoaxes? According to Psychology today, “hoaxers exploit human psychology in order to persuade us to do foolish things”(Mark D. Griffiths).Duh. According to The Washington Post, the way in which we receive media information happens almost instantaneously and before we can even process what we are reading, we are sharing it on our own pages, or with friends and families. Also, if a celebrity posts about it then it must be accurate, right? Though hoaxes are generally harmless, some can be harmful when there is a dangerous connotation. It is also important to note that in this particular case, hoaxes can in fact be helpful. They allow us to take a step back, re-read and better understand how to avoid them in the future.

Read more at Psychology Today, & The Washington Post:

2 thoughts on “Instagram: PUBLIC OR PUBLIC?

  1. Dani, you collected your thoughts on this topic in a way that is very clear and concise for readers. I enjoyed how the layout of this article begins with summarizing the topic of the internet hoax, allowing readers to get a concise summary of what the article will be about. You did this in a way that caught my attention and led me to reading more. Following this introduction, it is clever how you immediately brought up a quote from Psychology Today. With your placement of this quote, you allow readers to develop a stronger trust in your knowledge of the topic immediately. In your conclusion, I enjoyed how you brightened up the story by explaining that there might be a positive to this situation. Being caught in an internet hoax can be unsettling, although it does train internet users to become more aware of situations similar to this one—preventing further spreading of internet hoaxes in the future.

  2. Hi Dani!

    I thought you did a really good job with this post! I remember when this hoax happened, and I remember the response from public figures on twitter. Everyone has their own reaction (myself being a panic attack as represented in the meme you put in the end of the article). Also, that was smart to incorporate the guy who said “this dude oversee’s our nuclear program” because it shows that a man with so much government power even had something to say about instagrams hoax. It shows just how much influence Instagram really has within our culture! I can confidently say that I use Instagram way more than Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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