Instagram has quashed a rumour that all users’ private photos will be made public overnight, after a hoax statement went viral and was reposted by several celebrities.

The post, which is littered with grammatical errors, states that the new “rule” will allow Instagram to “use your photos” in court cases and litigation against you.

“Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from today Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed,” it states.

“It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry. Channel 13 News talked about the change in Instagram’s privacy policy.”

This is followed by some legalese, stating: “I do not give Instagram or any entities associated with Instagram permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future.

“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.

“The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute.”

It finishes by warning that, if users don’t publish the statement at least once, “it will be tacitly allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates”.

The post has been shared by a number of celebrities including the singer P!nk, actors Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Eva Longoria, Ashley Greene and Peter Facinelli, and model Adriana Lima.

Most of them have now removed the post after realising it was a hoax.

“There’s no truth to this post,” Stephanie Otway, brand communications manager at Instagram, told WWD.

While Instagram does have the right to distribute and share any of your content, it doesn’t own the copyright.

And even if you wanted to take that power away from Instagram, you couldn’t do it with a status update. You’d need to actively disagree with Instagram’s Terms of Use, which essentially means not using the service.

“We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service,” Instagram’s Terms of Use state.

“Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings).

“You can end this license anytime by deleting your content or account. However, content will continue to appear if you shared it with others and they have not deleted it.”

Trevor Noah of The Daily Show was quick to poke fun at the viral trend, posting a spoof hoax statement of his own:

This is actually a version of an old Facebook hoax, which has been periodically circulating for many years.

Facebook and Instagram both offer each user options to tailor their level of privacy, and these can be found in your profile options.