Artist Pink at a sold-out show in Toronto on Sunday. Photo: Angel Marchini/Zuma Press

Facebook FB -0.06% said earlier this month it would rebrand its photo-sharing app as “Instagram from Facebook.” Its users are already acting the part.

This week, a bogus post warning of an Instagram privacy change went viral, sparking panic among the app’s users, including major celebrities and politicians. According to the post, Instagram would make users’ activity on the app public, unless they posted their nonconsent.

American singer-songwriter Pink’s retaliatory post, captioned “Better safe than sorry, even if it is a hoax,” garnered over 91,500 likes in a mere 18 hours. The threat was a hoax, of course, as confirmed by an Instagram spokesperson.

Instagram’s privacy policy, to which all of its more than one billion users agreed, states that it can share user content with affiliates and information with third-party organizations. The joke is clearly on Instagram’s users, who not only agreed to that policy, but also should have learned from previous similar scares, beginning on Facebook in 2012.

Meanwhile on Twitter, users mocked the credulity of Instagram’s userbase, likening them to their elders on Facebook. All of Instagram “has become my 83 year-old grandmother,” said one post. Another dubbed Instagram’s users “locals who belong on Facebook.”

It does seem concerns are only skin deep. As one Instagram user tweeted, “I would def stop using the app if I weren’t as vain as I am right now.”

Related Video

Despite new initiatives from Google and Facebook, messing with privacy controls is like playing a carnival game. Knock out one way for advertisers to track you, and they quickly find another way to do it. WSJ’s Joanna Stern heads to Coney Island to explain. Photo: Kenny Wassus

Write to Laura Forman at

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