France: fake news and the election

Researching the role and impact of non-traditional publishers in the French election.

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Bakamo has been exploring the role and impact of 'non-traditional' publishers in the French election.

It discovered that nearly a quarter of all the internet links shared by French social media users between November 2016 and April 2017 were linked to fake news and many of them showed 'Russian influence' (according to EUObserver).

The researchers classified the sources as follows:

  • Traditional (48.2% of links shared) - media sources that belong to the established commercial and conventional media landscape including the websites of national and regional newspapers, television and radio stations, online portals adhering to journalistic standards, and news aggregators.
  • Campaign (7.4% of links shared) - the official web presence of the candidates and parties, clearly marked and operated by the campaigns. These include official candidate and party sites.
  • Extend (20.2% of links shared) – sites that seek to ‘extend’ the journalistic scope of the traditional media including scholarly investigative reporting, community perspectives and humour sites.
  • Reframe (19.2% of links shared) – sites motivated by a desire to counter the traditional media narrative. Sites included here break the traditions of journalism by offering radical opinions and aiming to provide a ‘disruptive narrative’.
  • Alternative (5% of links shared) – characterised as an incoherent, confusing space comining radical left and right wing views. Anti-globalisation. Inlcludes conspiracy sites.

Original research: Bakamo