Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Russian Meddling?

The Times has a report on purported Russian meddling in the French election. The goal seems more to defeat Macron rather than secure the election of one of the other three front-runners, all of whom--remarkable fact!--are friendly to Russia.


bernard said...

Not to belittle in any way purported Russian meddling, you are having the bad luck of publishing this blogpost on the very day when Daesh supporters are attempting to meddle in the most serious way in the election.

Passerby said...

After reading news articles I usually read comments. This can be a painful exercise on news sites with no or little moderation, as it's a welcoming environment for trolls and angry commentators.

While discussion isn't possible, I still find the exercise useful, as FN supporters are often over-represented in these sections, so it provides a windows on trending topics and rationales.
Plus, wouldn't it be a shame not to be up-to-date the jargon? How would I have learnt about "Gauchiottes", "Journalopes", "les Merdias", "les CPF" ("Chance pour la France"; a.k.a. immigrants), otherwise?

Anyway, over the past few years there has been a clear build-up of support from extreme right commentators toward Russia. Nowadays, almost all comments about Russia will be favorable to Putin.
But among this "natural" flow of sympathy, I have personally noticed on a couple occasions comments, identical word-for-word, published by different users. When looking at the users' comments history, they ONLY commented on topics related to Russia, and always in positive light.

This is not your standard internet troll. For me the most rational explanation is sponsored lobbying.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Russian trolls are state workers and they're at work on unmoderated forums (try to find the interview Samantha Bee did with them - fake naive questions, real answers.)
Also, keep in mind that their trolling is not party exclusive. At the current moment, their #1 enemy is Macron and any candidate who's able to kick him down a notch gets their vote. So, while people Russia trolls are common on the FN side, they can't be dismissed from the Fillon side or even the Melenchon side.
Also, don't assume they're not trying to manipulate polls, either.

Passerby said...

Thanks for the Samantha Bee segment. I had not seen it.
Actually I had not seen her since the Daily Show days. Now I've got another show to watch.

Speaking of parody shows, the French election just got the full John Oliver treatment on Last Week Tonight.

Anonymous said...

Saw it. Laughed throughout.
I hope the French get to see it and laugh, although I doubt it'll affect any vote.

Passerby said...

I follow LWT webcasts, but usually wait a few days after it's been aired. This time I heard bout first thing on Monday morning because it made the headlines on some French news sites. I haven't seen a subtitled version, so I don't think that it was widly shared, unfortunately.