Rick Perry

U.S. Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, shown here on Aug. 13, was one of many who fell for a fake Instagram meme.

There is a lot of fake news out there. We see it every day. We work hard to ensure the content in this newspaper is balanced, fair and, most importantly, accurate.

It’s disconcerting when so many people fall for a blatantly fake story, but a lot of America — and the world — fell for that via an Instagram meme about copyright of content. One of the victims was former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Perry shouldn’t feel bad, because a whole lot of celebrities got duped by it as well. This is one of those moments that reminds us to read the fine print. The meme tells you that Channel 13 news reported this, and that it’s supported by some vague legal language, including an unenforceable clause about war crimes. If this validates the accuracy of the post for you, we’d like to sell you a few things.

But that’s exactly the problem with social media, and it further proves the adage that “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

The hoax that was unleashed across Instagram actually originated on Facebook in 2012 with a dire warning that the social media company was going to be able to make your content publicly available, and if you didn’t post this statement, you’d run the risk of letting Facebook take advantage of your stuff. A version of the hoax has made the rounds on Instagram before.

Here’s an important thing to remember about Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets: Read the terms of service. There are instances, based on your privacy and sharing settings, where you could allow one of these companies to post your stuff, but for the most part, your content is protected.

In fact, Facebook has a pretty comprehensive FAQ around copyright and your content rights. Take a look at it. We’ve provided the link.

And don’t forget to read the fine print. It’s helpful, even for former governors.

Get the FAQs:


(3) comments

Mary Lou Shelton

they also prove that we have a lot of people who wont spend 10 minutes fact checking something. gene


Gene you are absolutely correct. I get stuff forwarded to me all the time that that is false. They see something that they agree with and they forward the email. It actually makes them look foolish when they do that.

Mary Lou Shelton

yep, but you have to admit some stuff looks real. I was getting stuff from a "university". since it sounded fishy, I looked up the place and it turns out it is one man, offering no courses, but sending out a lot of stuff under the university label.

the best policy, I think, is to believe nothing until there is time for the facts to come out, assuming they ever do. I get stuff from some liberal sites that borders on insane from the standpoint of making something out of nothing and jumping to conclusions. course conservative sites do the same. both sides rely on a lot of paranoia being out there.

most of us have a knee jerk bias one way of the other. that can't be helped. but if you can recognize that bias, then you can step back and think. then you may or may not change your mind, but at least you have put some thought into something. gene

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