"Operation Find Obama’s Finsta commences now," one Twitter user quipped

By Virginia Chamlee
September 17, 2020 04:19 PM
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Barack Obama in a new PSA encouraging vote-by-mail

What was the internet supposed to do — not latch onto a joking comment from Barack Obama that he has a "finsta"?

The former president made the reference in a playful public service announcement on Wednesday encouraging voting-by-mail.

"Over the past few months, I've learned a thing or two from young people about how to quarantine successfully," Obama, 59, says in the video from media company ATTN:.

"You've taught me how to make a mean sourdough starter. (It looks awful.) You showed me the Renegade Challenge — great name by the way — which I've been enjoying on my finsta," he continues. (His Secret Service code-name was Renegade.)

"So," Obama says, "since you've given me so much lately and so much hope over the years, I want to return the favor and help you make a plan in the upcoming election."

Though he mentions a few different recent habits, would-be internet investigators have honed in on one in particular: that the 44th president might have a "finsta," or secret Instagram account.

And while it seems likeliest Obama was only messing around, in a self-deprecating style meant to connect with younger voters, some social media users cracked that they should work overtime to find the account. Just in case.

"Operation Find Obama’s Finsta commences now," tweeted one user, while others joked that the news was the "biggest headline of the day."

Another user quipped: "if anyone knows barrack obama's finsta handle pls tell me,,, i want to see this man do the renegade."

Obama wouldn't be the first high-profile political figure with hidden social media habits.

Former FBI director James Comey, who was controversially fired by President Donald Trump in 2017, had both a secret Twitter and Instagram account, both of which were ultimately outed by journalist Ashley Feinberg in 2017.

References to TikTok challenges and Zoom birthday parties aside, the Obama video has a more important message to share.

He encourages young people to register and vote "as early as [they] can" in the upcoming presidential election on Nov. 3.

"Our democracy is a precious thing and it's up to all of us to protect it," says the former president, who just announced a release date for A Promised Land, the first volume of his upcoming memoirs.

"Upholding our responsibilities as citizens," Obama says in the PSA, "is perhaps the most powerful way for for all of us — Millennials, Boomers, Gen Z, Gen X — to join forces."