October 14, 2022 | Next Inpact

How French politicians use social media, sometimes inauthentically, to their advantage

Analyst Zoé Fourel spoke with Next Inpact on ISD France’s findings regarding inauthentic online behaviour linked to the campaign of far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour.

The article discusses the online manipulation of platform functionalities, and more specifically the use of inauthethentic behaviour techniques including astroturfing in the general French political landscape. ISD’s investigation on Zemmour’s campaign found 12 petitions, amplified inauthentically on Twitter, and with signs of inauthentic coordinated behaviour on Facebook, that directly went against the policies of both platforms.

“Platforms need to start implementing their own rules” said Zoé, who also advocates for platforms to open their data access to facilitate the work of researchers and external audits. “There is a need for collaboration between platforms: when an operation is led on Twitter, it can also be echoed on Facebook and other online spaces.”

Our full report is available in French and English.