These Are The Most Popular Memes On The Internet (According To A Scientific Study)

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer


Finally, some important science. Researchers from University College London, Cyprus University of Technology, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and King's College London have all teamed up to determine the Internet's dankest memes.

In a lengthy – and at times surreal – rigorous academic study that's available on arXiv, the team also looked at how successful racist fringe groups on the Internet were at circulating their memes. 

A detailed analysis of racist frog memes. arXiv

The team note that polarized groups (such as /pol/ and The_Donald on 4chan and Reddit respectively) have been working hard to create new memes and attempting to make them go viral, in order to popularize their ideas within the general population.

"When measuring the influence each community has with respect to disseminating memes to other Web communities, we found that /pol/ has the largest overall influence for racist and political memes, however, /pol/ was the least efficient, i.e., in terms of influence w.r.t. the total number of memes posted, while The Donald is very successful in pushing memes to both fringe and mainstream Web communities," the team wrote. 

During their study, which looked at memes posted between July 2016 and July 2017, the researchers identified the most popular memes on the Internet. They found that overall, Reddit and Twitter tended to post "fun" memes, while /pol/ mainly posted political and racist memes.

First, let's start with the terrible end of the Internet: /pol/ are mainly obsessed with variations of Pepe the frog. You'll recognize him from profile pictures used by racists and all-round-terrible people all over the Internet.


Top memes on /pol/

1. Feels Bad Man
2. Smug Frog
3. Happy Merchant
4. Apu Apustaja
5. Pepe the Frog
6. Make America Great Again
7. Angry Pepe
8. Bait this is Bait
9. I Know that Feel Bro
10. Cult of Kek

On Reddit and Twitter as a whole, there was a more "fun" feel to the memes.

Top Reddit meme formats


1. Manning Face

2. That’s the Joke

3. Sad Frog

4. Confession Bear


5. This is Fine

6. Smug Frog

[Another racist frog meme]

7. Roll Safe


8. Rage Guy

9. Make America Great Again

10. Fake CCG Card

Top Twitter memes


1. Roll Safe

2. Arthur’s Fist


 3. Evil Kermit

4. Nut Button


5. Spongebob Mock

6. Reaction Images

7. Expanding Brain

8. Demotivational Posters


9. Cash Me Ousside/Howbow Dah

10. Conceited Reaction


The researchers hope that their work could be used to assist social media giants in identifying hateful content.


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