- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A social media focused on the personal photos of over a billion users is also engaging in some Trump bashing, a new study finds.

“Researchers have identified what they are calling a coordinated campaign to undermine President Trump on Instagram, an effort that bears hallmarks of the disinformation campaigns that proliferated on the platform in 2016,” reports The Hill staff writer Emily Birnbaum.

She cites a new study by Ghost Data, an Italian analytics firm which identified a network of 350 anti-Trump accounts which are, Ms. Birnbaum said, “coordinating efforts to promote messages deriding the president, sometimes with graphic or violent language.”

The researchers determined that 19 suspicious Instagram accounts took the lead in producing content which criticized or mocked Mr. Trump. Ghost Data also tracked the outcome.

“In total, the posts from the accounts generated have more than 35.2 million interactions, with 3.9 million of those interactions occurring in the last two months,” Ms. Birnbaum said. “The study concluded that the anti-Trump Instagram campaign has ramped up over the past several months, with the network’s activities swelling ‘dramatically’ since April.”

“Considering the growing attention gained by political campaigns and tactics carried on social media platforms, including great loads of misinformation, fake news and other oddities, we produced a limited but through analysis of this trend currently emerging on Instagram,” the researchers wrote. “Our study should be intended as an informative contribution within a larger context that includes, for example, possibile ‘digital operations’ and strategies to encourage discord and amplifying distrust in our democracies.”

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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