Election breakdown: What happened on Instagram Sept. 29

Every Tuesday in the run up to the Nov. 3, 2020 election, Mashable will break down the most viral posts about politics on Instagram. Using data from the Facebook-owned analytics service CrowdTangle, we’ll show you the topics and perspectives on Instagram that the most people are talking about and engaging with. Our hope is that this provides a look at what’s dominating the political conversation in social media spaces that you might not see otherwise. 

While it’s clear that prompts Facebook users to click and comment, what makes a post “viral” on Instagram isn’t as well understood. Instagram also has a of over 37 percent of U.S. adults, with particularly engaged. What’s more, that Instagram may have played a bigger role in the 2016 election than Facebook for Russian operatives, and predicted that it would be central to similar efforts this fall.

This week in politics, what are people outside of your social media bubble talking about on Instagram? Here’s what you need to know. 


At nearly 1 a.m. ET on Friday morning, Trump dropped the bomb on the world (and social media) that he and Melania had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Although he posted this jaw-dropping news late into the week, his post announcing the diagnosis on Instagram was the fourth most engaged with (liked, commented, and shared) post about politics for the week. 

Many people were glued to Trump’s account – he was the most popular poster for the week. Trump and Fox News together commanded 19 percent of the total “share of voice,” which means of all the likes, comments, and shares that happened on Instagram politics posts last week, 19 percent of them went to Trump or Fox News.

Democratic politicians Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama also commanded their own “share of voice,” at 16 percent, collectively.

Something completely different? The Shade Room, a popular gossip social media account, posted a few viral clips featuring political figures that also elevated them into top political posters. One particularly choice one: a joke video of Trump whipping around as Cardi B yells her infamous “coronavirus!!” warning.

Here are the top 10 accounts that drew the biggest share of the political action on Instagram.

Trump's coronavirus posts got him the top spot.

Trump’s coronavirus posts got him the top spot.

Image: screenshot / rachel kraus / mashable / crowdtangle

Top Interactions

Top Interactions: “The total number of likes and comments on an Instagram post.”

A lot of chatter had to do with Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, and various reactions to the debate (which took place just two days before corona officially came for Trump).

However, Instagram was also filled with a lot of positive vibes in the politics category.

A popular trend is public figures and celebrities urging their followers to vote. In Barack and Michelle Obama’s respective posts each celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary, they also encourage people to vote. Michelle Obama’s post was the politics post with the most interactions of all with over 3.59 million likes and nearly 48,000 comments.

Celebrities Billie Eilish and Bella Hadid also used their huge platforms to tell followers to get to the polls; Bella put “don’t forget to vote!” as an addendum to her post about the Fenty fashion show. The personal is political, people!

Overperforming posts

Overperforming: “Overperforming means that a post is performing better than average for a post of that type (ie text, photo, video) from that Page, and at that point in time (10 minutes after posting, 1 hour after posting, etc).”

Some interesting things were happening in the “overperforming” category, which basically means posts that are going viral. Mostly, the posts that saw higher engagement were big trolls. 

The most viral depicted someone spraying a parade of Trump supporters with a hose every time a car with Trump flags went by. This was an IGTV video that had nearly 800 times the amount of interactions a post from this account usually gets, racking up nearly 8,000 interactions and 25,000 video views (it came from a user who posts memes and jokes about Latino life, and occasionally rags on Trump). 

Aside from one anti-Trump troll, most of the other overperforming posts came from accounts with conservative names, that also had some of the hallmarks of misinformation. For example, the second most viral post was a video that spliced together multiple old clips to intimate that Biden plagiarized his speeches. Others were: A post about how Trump enabled cheaper diabetes medication, which was sourced from “a friend of a friend;” a joke about “working democrats” supporting Trump that’s been circling since August; and another claiming Joe Biden has ties to the KKK (without any source). These all had hundreds of times the interactions that posts from these pages usually got.

Instagram’s world of hashtag politics looks a lot more like Facebook than you might think. 

source.



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