Claim: Instagram is overloaded and is about to cancel the accounts of users who don’t follow the instructions in a posted message.
Examples: [Collected via e-mail, March 2014]
Origins: A common form of hoax perpetrated on Internet users since the late 1990s is the claim that some particular popular free service, 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. In March 2014 the popular online photo-sharing site Instagram was the latest target of this perennial jape. (See our primary article on the history of this hoax.)
The bottom line is that it’s the same leg-pull no matter which
Last updated: 6 March 2014
Reuters. “Fake E-Mail Threatens to Cut Microsoft Hotmail Users.” The New York Times. 1 July 2000.