The man in charge of America’s nuclear weapon arsenal just fell for one of the oldest hoaxes on social media.
“With this statement, I give notice to Instagram it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents,” Perry’s message read. “Instagram DOES NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION TO SHARE PHOTOS OR MESSAGES.”
Yet, the report took particular aim at the 69-year-old head of the U.S. Department of Energy, the man in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, not being able to see a hoax when he sees one.
— Josh Lipowsky (@TheBigLipowsky) August 21, 2019
The point of the hoax was not entirely clear. In the past, fake news stories about celebrity deaths have spread across social media, often attempting to trick people into clicking on a link that could give away their personal information or install malware on computers. Other fake stories have been used to spread falsehoods about political figures or sway voters. There did not appear to be any clear ulterior motive to the recent Instagram hoax, however.
As Fortune noted, a spokesperson for Instagram issued a statement confirming that the viral post is a hoax and that people are not at risk of losing ownership of their photos. However, the site did not comment on what could be done to stop the spread of these viral hoaxes. Rick Perry later deleted his Instagram post sharing the hoax.