Social media and document dumps

Via NYT comes this follow up to the document dump story last night in France:

Yet within hours after the hacked documents were made public, the hashtag #MacronLeaks began trending worldwide, aided by far-right activists in the United States who have been trying to sway the French vote in favor of Ms. Le Pen.

Jack Posobiec, a journalist with the far-right news outlet The Rebel, was the first to use the hashtag with a link to the hacked documents online, which was then shared more widely by WikiLeaks. Mr. Posobiec remains the second-most mentioned individual on Twitter in connection with the hashtag behind WikiLeaks, according to a review of the past 100,000 Twitter posts published since late Friday.

While there is no evidence that the breach against Mr. Macron’s campaign was organized by this loosely connected group of far-right campaigners, the American activists have been gathering on sites like 4chan and Discord, which were previously used to coordinate support for Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign.

One popular tactic, experts say, has been so-called Twitter raids, or efforts to hijack trending hashtags and topics on the social media site and inject far-right and anti-Macron propaganda.

A week before the second round of the French election, for instance, online activists, many from the United States and other English-speaking countries, flooded Twitter with coordinated anti-Macron memes — online satirical photos with often biting captions — carrying hashtags like #elysee2017 that were linked to the campaign. That included portraying him as a 21st-century equivalent of Marie Antoinette, the out-of-touch last queen of France, and other memes made allegations of an extramarital affair.

Yet in a sign of how the far right outside the country is also trying to foment the discussion, many of the Twitter posts about the hacking have originated in the United States, according to Trendsmap, a data analytics tool. About half of the social media messages around political hashtags linked to the breach have been written in English, based on a review of Trendsmap data, as activists outside France have helped to spread news of the leak.

The top 25 Twitter posts shared with the hashtag #MacronLeaks were written in English, according to Mr. Nimmo of the Atlantic Council, with many of the online accounts reposting links set up as so-called bots, or automated accounts controlled by third-party individuals.

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