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Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia


Computer Science

Publication Date

Summer 2022


Disinformation, which is fabricated, misleading content spread with the intent to deceive others, is accumulating substantial engagements and reaching a vast audience on Instagram. However, the temporary nature of the platform and the security guidelines that remove malicious content make studying this disinformation a challenge. The only way to access removed content and banned accounts that are no longer on the live web is by searching the web archives. In this study, we set out to quantify the replayability and quality of past captures of Instagram accounts, specifically focusing on a group of of anti-vax content creators known as the Disinformation Dozen. We found that the number of mementos listed for these accounts on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine can be misleading, because a majority of the mementos are actually redirections to the Instagram login page, and of the remaining replayable mementos, many are missing post images. In fact, 96.13% of mementos from the Disinformation Dozen accounts redirect to the login page, and only 27.16% of the remaining replayable mementos contain every post image. Combined, these results reveal that merely 1.05% of mementos for the Disinformation Dozen accounts are replayable with complete post images. Furthermore, we found that the percentage of replayable mementos is decreasing over time, with a particular lack of replayable mementos for the years 2021 and 2022.


Disinformation, Instagram, Anti-vax, Internet Archive, Mementos


Computer Sciences | Social Media

Document Type





Final report is available as an additional file.

© Copyright, Haley Bragg, 2022



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Download Bragg, Final REU Report (2.4 MB)

Discovering the Traces of Disinformation on Instagram



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