Biden, a newly announced candidate in the 2020 presidential election, tried for an Instagram trick popular with marketing experts and influencers. He posted six photos to his account with letters over each one, spelling out a singular message when looking at his feed all at once. However, many followers missed the "Biden President" message, distracted by the massive letter "N" placed over President Obama.
Biden's posts included one picture of him with his arm around the former president, both smiling. It lined up with the large letter "N" across Obama's torso, leaving many to feel that it invoked a racial slur. This was all the worse for those who saw the picture by itself on their feed first, not in Biden's profile as he and his team clearly intended.
"N on Obama y’all ain’t slick [laughing my a— off]," one person commented.
"Well this one didn’t turn out well. Time for a new social media manager," added another. "Don’t get me wrong, I’d like a Biden presidency. But since this is the only post that showed up in my feed, it looks racist [as f—]."
"Someone didn’t think this through," a third person noted.
Many people pointed out that Instagram no longer displays posts chronologically as Biden's social media team may have hoped, so many followers would not see this picture in the context of the others, which all had the same blue filter on them. In addition, many social media algorithms favor posts with the most engagement, so the focus on the Obama photo probably made it that much more visible.
So far, Biden and his team have not addressed the fallout from the post, which many argue they should have seen coming. Biden officially announced his presidential campaign on Thursday, April 25. Even before that he was fighting an uphill battle, dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct and doubt over his ability to beat a Republican opponent after the primaries.3comments
Still, many political analysts see Biden as a heavy hitter in the Democratic field, where he joins a huge list of other candidates. Biden's experience and exposure as Vice President will likely serve him well in the race, especially since he worked so closely with President Obama, who remains popular.
However, other candidates are sure to give him a serious fight before the Democratic party picks its nominee for 2020.