No, you don’t have to publicly declare that Instagram can’t use your photos — you already said yes when you signed up

Faceboook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook also owns and operates Instagram. Facebook

If you’ve spent any time on Instagram in the last week, you’ve no doubt seen this chain letter-esque hoax being passed around.

“Don’t forget tomorrow starts the new Instagram rule where they can use your photos,” the image warns. “Don’t forget Deadline today!!!”

Maybe your uncle reposted it, or your favourite soccer player, or a member of the cabinet.

Maybe even you shared it yourself?

It is, of course, a hoax – and an old hoax at that. It started way back in 2012, but regained steam this week.

“I do not give Instagram or any entities associated with Instagram permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future,” the text in the post says. “With this statement, I give notice to Instagram it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take action against me based on this profile and/or its contents.”

The reality, however, is that you already granted Instagram all of those rights the moment that you signed up – look no further than the Instagram terms of service for proof of that reality.

“We collect the content, communications and other information you provide when you use our Products, including when you sign up for an account, create or share content, and message or communicate with others,” it says.

Instagram explore phone

In another section of that agreement, Instagram spells out exactly what it’s taking from your smartphone when you grant it permissions – a requirement of using Instagram.

“Data from device settings: information you allow us to receive through device settings you turn on, such as access to your GPS location, camera or photos,” it says.

Instagram is collecting your location data, the device you’re using, the network you’re on, and it can access your entire photo library – among many other datapoints. And all of this was explicitly allowed by every one of its billion-plus users.

Re-posting a hoax chain-letter unfortunately doesn’t revoke all the permissions you’ve already granted.