Deep Learning

Mapping Visual Themes among Authentic and Coordinated Memes

What distinguishes authentic memes from those created by state actors? I utilize a self-supervised vision model, DeepCluster, to learn low-dimensional visual embeddings of memes and apply K-means to jointly cluster authentic and coordinated memes without additional inputs. I find that authentic and coordinated memes share a large fraction of visual themes but with varying degrees. Coordinated memes from Russian IRA accounts promote more themes around celebrities, quotes, screenshots, military, and gender. Authentic Reddit memes include more themes with comics and movie characters. A simple logistic regression on the low-dimensional embeddings can discern IRA memes from Reddit memes with an out-sample testing accuracy of 0.84.