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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg is working with Instagram meme influencers with millions of followers to help promote his presidential campaign in paid posts, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: It’s an innovative and fresh strategy that reflects the prowess of Bloomberg’s massive and well-funded digital operation — and it specifically targets Generation Z, a demographic that might know the least about the former New York mayor.

via Instagram

Details: Bloomberg's campaign is working with Meme 2020, a company created by Mick Purzycki, the chief executive of the meme media and marketing company Jerry Media.

  • Bloomberg had sponsored posts on multiple accounts with more than a million followers, including Jerry Media’s account, with more than 13.3 million followers.
  • The posts fake direct messages of the candidate asking Instagram influencers to help make him "the cool candidate."
  • Some users were unsure if the posts were legitimate or a coordinated joke from the meme accounts.

What they're saying: “We’re trying to be innovative with how we’re translating the campaign message on social, trying to do it how the internet actually works,” an aide to the Bloomberg campaign told the NYT. “Tweeting from @mikebloomberg is a very 2008 strategy.”

  • “The way Trump’s campaign is run is extremely social first,” the aide continued. “We’re trying to break the mold in how the Democratic Party works with marketing, communication and advertising, and do it in a way that’s extremely internet and social native.”

Go deeper: Bloomberg's big bet on the power of money

Go deeper

47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.