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Oh Great, an Instagram Hoax Duped the Guy in Charge of Our Nuclear Bombs


This is how angry we all are about this new Weight Watchers app aimed at kids and teens.

Last week, an Instagram hoax went around claiming that if you didn’t share a certain post, Instagram could publicly use your photos and DMs. Several celebrities fell for this, including Debra Messing and Judd Apatow, while those of us who grew up on chain emails and weird internet memes could tell that it was all just a big joke. However, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was also duped. This is the man who is in charge of our nukes.

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Worse is that, after he posted this and it was revealed to be a hoax, he commented that it was the first time he’d ever seen anything fake on the internet, which makes me wonder about what he’s seeing on the internet that he thinks is real. While he’s probably (hopefully?) joking, it’s a poorly executed joke given his lack of any real signifiers that it was, indeed, humor rather than earnestness.

It’s easy to mock celebrities and relatives who aren’t as familiar with the lingo of the internet for falling for hoaxes like this. Who among us hasn’t believed a chain letter or an online copypasta? But this is a guy who’s in a position of power within the U.S. Government. Seeing him fall for a hoax like this is rather disheartening, to put it mildly.

Instagram has debunked the post, and several comedians, including The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, have mocked it. This is only even relatively newsworthy because a politician believed it and then reposted it. Did no one on his social media team check to see if it was legitimate? Does he know any millennials who could’ve pointed out that it was a hoax? Why does this man have a position of power if he’s going to fall for internet schemes like this? We know politicians are bad at technology, but you’d hope they’d at least have some grasp of whether or not something like this actually meant anything, legally.

This is all terrible. The news is terrible, and we live in a simulation gone wrong, like some madcap version of The Sims.

(image: Pexels)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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