Several viral hoaxes are claiming the “Instagram Council” or “Instagram Team” will be deleting accounts “due to money loss.”
The hoaxes then claim that users need to share the message to “save their account.”
One fake post says, “Many people are seeing ‘We’re sorry, we cannot provide News at this time’ when they refresh their news feed. This is because the Instagram Council is deleting many accounts due to money loss. Repost this and hastag #SaveMyIG2014 to let the Instagram council know that you are an active account.”
“The Instagram Team recently installed new software to update Instagram. When the update corrupted, our team noticed that all our files went missing … every account’s information is now lost,” another one reads, and it asks users to share the fake message. It asks users to tag #InstagramsDatabase on Twitter and Instagram.
These aren’t real, and if Instagram was making such sweeping changes, it wouldn’t be spread via a viral message on Facebook and Twitter. The company would likely announce it on its website, blog, and/or send a message to each user about such a change.
Similar hoaxes claming that a popular online service will be deleting accounts or going offline has been around since the late 1990s.
“Whether it be Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, or the like, is ‘overloaded’ or ‘losing money’ or experiencing some other crippling technical crisis that requires them to purge the accounts of users unless those account holders follow the instructions contained in a particular message, typically directing them to forward or repost that message,” says hoax-debunking website Snopes.