Everyone, Calm Down, Instagram Is Not About to Steal Your Photos

by Charles Manning

Every so often, “news” of a change to Instagram’s terms of service ricochet’s around the internet, sending the community into a tizzy, terrified that Facebook is about to steal their intellectual property. It’s the modern-day equivalent of those emails we all used to get warning us of a virus lurking on our computers and urging us to delete some benign file that, it turned out, had been there all along.

The whole thing usually goes something like this: there is a call to action that you need to post something on your account or you will be giving Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook or whatever) implicit permission to use the content you post there in whatever way they see fit, including selling it without cutting you in on the deal. (How dare they!) Photographers, content creators, and random people you forgot you even followed see this, screenshot it, and post it to their own accounts. A few bigger names get on board and soon your feed is flooded with screenshots of this nonsense.

You’d think that after all this time, people would wise up to the fact that this is all just a giant scam designed to make them look stupid, but every couple of years this annoying hoax rears its ugly head and claims a fresh crop of unwitting victims.

In the last hour or so alone, makeup artists James Kaliardos, photographer Alexei Hay, Kelly Klein, stylist Bill Mullen, writer/producer Jenni Konner, and even supermodel Adriana Lima have all fallen victim to this silly scam, posting screenshots of the same tired text to their Instagram pages.

But lest anyone else in the fashion world, or the wider world for that matter, feel compelled to jump on this particular bandwagon, let me assure you, everything is fine. This is all just a silly prank perpetrated by some ass hat with nothing better to do than unsettle you.

The Daily even reached out to Facebook, just to be sure, and a spokesperson for the company told us, “There is no truth to this post.” So don’t worry, Sean Lennon et al. Your intellectual property is as safe as ever. There is no need to mar your lovely, painstakingly curated grid with this nonsense.

And if you were one of the unfortunate ones who fell for it this time, don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us. Indeed, this latest crop of victims is a veritable who’s who of fashion and media — everyone from Andy Cohen to Mario Sorrenti and Carine Roitfeld — so at least you’re in good company. And you’ll know better for next time.

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