Viral Instagram Hoax: Harmless or Hurtful?

Ever since the days of chain emails being sent around my classes in middle school, I have been both a viewer and victim of viral hoaxes. I had never really thought very deep into what these hoaxes really were other than considering them to be dumb forms of clickbait or for someones personal entertainment just so they can see how far the hoax can go. I believe people make these hoaxes for the same reasons that they spread rumors; in order to “stir the pot.” People like attention. It is the core mindset behind social media in general, yet there is no specifying how this need for attention must be satisfied. Some people like attention for their looks, their intellect, or their humor. Others like to be the first to know about things. That’s where the people who create these hoaxes come in.

I saw multiple posts of the most recent viral hoax that spread around Instagram that fooled many people, including famous celebrities. When I saw the reposted screenshot that claimed that Instagram’s privacy rules were changing, I immediately believed it was fake for one main reason. I believed that if this extremely popular app was making such a dramatic change to their usage policies, they would have sent out an official statement or made a post about it, which they did not. Yet the issue is, many other people did not think this deep into it, and just followed what they saw everyone else doing.

Overall, I do not think these hoaxes are harmless or helpful in any way. They spread false information and can change people’s beliefs about things based on lies. There is absolutely no benefit to them, yet because of the way the internet works, there is not necessarily a way to stop them either.


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