From THE LOCAL (FRANCE):
While Russia has been formally accused of trying to meddle in the French presidential election to seek a favourable outcome, it seems they are not the only ones (alleged) interfering.
The company Linkfluence, which monitors social media channels, released data to BFM TV that suggests American internet users are also trying to influence the outcome of the presidential election by helping to boost Marine Le Pen’s chances of winning.
It comes after news site Buzzfeed claimed in January that Trump supporters were pretending to be French online in a bid to help the National Front’s Marine Le Pen.
According to Linkfluence, which monitors all the millions of content added online, some 50 percent of all comments or posts made online in the United States were about Marine Le Pen, with Linkfluence’s Guilhem Fouetillou saying there among these there were three times as many positive ones than the negative posts.
Certain hashtags, including #MFGA – Make France Great Again (a spin on Trump’s election slogan Make America Great Again) give away the partisan nature of the social media users.
Fouetillou says he can see the influence of the American ‘alt-right’ – an extremist far right ideology, whose followers were accused of helping Trump to power.
Marine Le Pen is an admirer of Donald Trump and was quick to congratulate him on his election win in November.
Most of the talk about interference in the French elections has centred around Moscow’s alleged attempts to meddle.
Last month the head of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee warned that Russia was interfering in the French election just as it did in the US presidential campaign last year.
Political parties on the far right are today enjoying a surge of support and access to government power that they have not experienced since their heyday in the 1930s.
In France, the National Front―founded in 1972 by former Nazi collaborators and other right-wingers employing anti-Semitic and racist appeals―has tried to soften its image somewhat under the recent leadership of Marine Le Pen. Nevertheless, Le Pen’s current campaign for the French presidency, in which she is one of two leading candidates, includes speeches delivered against a screen filled with immigrants committing crimes, jihadists plotting savage attacks, and European Union (EU) bureaucrats destroying French jobs, while she assails multiculturalism and promises to “restore order.”
Around the globe, the same trend is in evidence. In the United States, of course, Donald Trump won a startling victory in his run for the presidency, employing attacks on Mexican migrants, Islamophobia, calls for law and order, and promises to “make America great again.” The Republican Party, moving rightward for years before Trump captured the party nomination, quickly embraced this agenda.