prateek-katyal-xv7-GlvBLFw-unsplashWe've all spent enough time on the internet to have seen our share of hoaxes over the years. Maybe we've fallen prey to one or two, although we'd never admit it in public, and maybe not ever to ourselves. P.T. Barnum's dictum of " a sucker born every minute" applies to those other folks sharing our birth-minute, but not us, certainly, savvy minds that we are. But the truth is that we're all susceptible to get got if we don't keep a jaundiced eye to the trends sweeping the world wide web and its component apps, a cynical bend that might make us miss out on a bit of fun but at least protects us from looking the fool on occasion.

One of the more prevalent rouses, at least for those of us with Online Grandparents (and parents, in more cases that we'd like to acknowledge), is the declarative post protecting the poster from whatever new change is alleged to be promulgating with the social media app in question. The most recent instance is one involving supposed changes to Instagram's copyright policy surrounding photos users post on the platform. It's particularly noteworthy in that it managed to draw in celebrities and other persons of fame, including Julia Roberts (!), our current Spider-Man(!!), and our Secretary of Energy (!!!!!). The text of the message is familiar to anyone who has seen similar posts on Facebook: it elucidates the changes and the inherent dangers of those changes, and though the magic of proclamation exempts the individual from the newly-imposed strictures.

The truth, of course, is that posts like this do absolutely nothing. Instagram insists that no such policy changes are pending; if there was, there almost certainly wouldn't be an opt-out save for deleting your account, and any opt-outs wouldn't be conducted by having Instagram employees comb though millions upon millions of accounts to see who has posted a picture of a wall of text with the exact wording necessary to satisfy the requirement to exempt themselves. Everything you need to know about what rights Instagram holds to your work is available in its terms of service. More cynically, it's naive to think that there in any reprieve from the ever-encroaching apps that increasingly dominate our lives. There is of course the Henry David Thoreau route, living in a unadorned cabin by a lake, cut off from the outside world, but short of that, we all must make some sort of peace with what we're asked to sacrifice in order to live in a world where most of our interaction is online. Thinking that a simple post can save us is a nice thought, though.

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