Why everyone’s talking about Barack Obama’s ‘finsta’

It might have started out as a call to register and vote, but it’s kicked off a search for what is potentially former President Barack Obama’s fake Instagram account, aka his finsta.

Obama appeared in a social media video addressed to the youth vote, appealing them to cast their ballots in the 2020 elections. He shared the video on his own Twitter account, writing, “Over the last few months, I’ve learned a thing or two from the young people in our country. I figured I would return the favor by sharing with you how to make a plan to vote in this upcoming election.” And in the video, hidden between a quick show and tell involving his unsuccessful sourdough starter and the confession that he’d been enjoying the Renegade challenge — his Secret Service code name was “Renegade” — was the revelation that he’d been keeping up with social media trends through his finsta. He then launched into talk about the importance of voting (particularly in the upcoming November elections), as well as how to do it safely and securely in the middle of the pandemic (via HuffPost).

Social media is obsessed with finding Barack Obama's finsta

No one outside of the former president’s circle may actually know whether or not he’s got a finsta, but Obama’s mention of the word “finsta” was enough to send social media users into a frenzy, and Twitter users responded to the former president’s call to vote with a call to track down Obama’s finsta. “What I got from this is that President Obama has a finsta and I /MUST/ know what’s on it,” one Twitter user said. “Now that I know Obama has a finsta I won’t know peace,” another Twitter user announced. Then there was the Twitter user who decided to turn the search for the former president’s finsta into a quest: “(national treasure voice) i am going to find barack obama’s finsta.” And a fourth pointed out, “Absolutely did not have Barack Obama saying finsta on my 2020 bingo card but here we are.” 

It appears people in high places have, in fact, been known to keep fake social media accounts — People reports that former FBI director James Comey had a secret Twitter and Instagram account, both of which were outed the same year.

So while we’re all playing the “does he or doesn’t he” guessing game, his spot has done one thing for for: It’s gotten a whole bunch of us to start talking about his video — if not about getting out and registering to vote, then about his finsta.

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