August 21, 2019 / 6:35 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. energy secretary falls for Instagram hoax, pokes fun at himself

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry joked on social media on Wednesday that photo-sharing site Instagram could “publish, distribute and/or sell” his pictures of dogs, Texas flags and chili recipes, an attempt at humor after he appeared to fall for an online hoax.

Perry gave Instagram, which is owned by Facebook (FB.O), “the express right” to publish “pictures of dachshunds,” “the real truth behind Area 51” and “proof my wife is better looking than yours,” in a sarcastic post to his non-government Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Perry said his parody post was “made on my phone” and “shall stand as a legally binding document, in perpetuity throughout the universe.”

On Tuesday, Perry appeared to fall for a hoax that circulated on Instagram and Facebook in recent days warning that users must share a pre-written statement to avoid having their content taken down by the social media platforms.

His self-deprecating joke copied a post singer John Mayer made earlier in the day mocking those who were repeating the hoax.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri took to his own account on Tuesday to tell users the claims in the hoax were false. Facebook spokesperson Stephanie Otway said there is “no truth” to the hoax.

Critics on social media on Wednesday voiced concern that Perry, who oversees the United States’ nuclear arsenal, was fooled by an amateur hoax. The Department of Energy did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Reporting by Bryan Pietsch; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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