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Man in charge of US nuclear weapons among thousands sharing hoax Instagram post

The hoax message urges people to share to prevent Instagram using account-holders' own photos against them in court.

Rick Perry, the politician in charge of the United States’ nuclear weapons, was among thousands of users to share for a debunked Instagram scam this week.

Mr Perry, the US Secretary of State for Energy, posted the viral hoax – which falsely claims a “new Instagram rule” will allow the social network to use account holders’ photos against them in court cases – on his account on Tuesday, adding: “Feel free to repost!! #nothanksinstagram.”

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Feel free to repost!! #nothanksinstagram

A post shared by GovernorPerry (@governorperry) on

The post from the former Governor of Texas members prompted mockery from other users, with one writing: “YOU HANDLE NUCLEAR BOMBS??????”

“I’d like to introduce you to a Nigerian prince,” replied another, referencing a famous email scam which urges people to loan money in return for receiving a larger amount at a later date.

Mr Perry later appeared to claim that he was aware of the hoax, commenting “OMG… seriously, you mean this is fake”.

The social network, which is owned by Facebook, has asserted that the viral post is fake, with head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeting: “If you’re seeing a meme claiming Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it’s not true.”

Contrary to the claims in the hoax, social media users who upload their photos or videos to Instagram still retain ownership of the copyright.

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Better Safe than Sorry

A post shared by Usher (@usher) on

However, the Governor is not the only famous person to have shared the warning, which encourages users to state: “I do not give Instagram or any entities associated with Instagram permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future.”

Hollywood actor Rob Lowe and R&B singer Usher both shared the meme, with the latter writing: “Better safe than sorry.”

After seeing his father’s post, Lowe’s son Johnny replied: “Oh god.”

Rob Lowe's son replied "oh god" after seeing the post. (Rob Lowe/Instagram)
Rob Lowe’s son replied “oh god” after seeing the post. (Rob Lowe/Instagram)

The trend prompted comedian Trevor Noah to fashion his own version, warning: “Don’t forget today start the new day of a hoax people fall for in the internet.

“If you want to stop this you must repost this message which is a real contract and you can tell it is very real because the grammar and speling is perfect.”

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