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Here's How Far-Right Trolls Are Spreading Hoaxes About French Presidential Candidate Emmanuel Macron
"Meme Macron out of existence... We need to stop this creep Macron from cucking up Europe." WARNING: This post contains graphic images.
On Sunday night, this 4chan thread appeared a few hours after pro-EU centrist and former investment banker Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist and former leader of the National Front Marine Le Pen were declared winners of the first round of France's presidential election.
The thread was started by a Swedish user who asked members of the community if they could help him create memes and misinformation about Emmanuel Macron that could then be translated and spread across the web.
The original poster suggested they focus on a narrative that Emmanuel Macron was secretly sleeping with his wife's 30-year-old daughter, Tiphaine Auzière.
An American user then appeared in the thread and put in a photo of Auzière superimposed over Macron, writing "something to start memeing about."
The original poster than dropped this photo in of Auzière standing closer to Macron than his wife at an event.
The thread then opened up into other ways they could spread misinformation about Macron. An American user started to create "feminist" memes.
The memes were intended to create a false sense of support for Le Pen among liberal social justice communities.
"Fight feminism and reveal the liberal hypocrisy at the same time," they wrote.
A French user appeared further down the conversation, explaining that Americans are naive to think that creating a false sex scandal would affect Macron's chances. "You do realize we don't have as much triggered feminists as you do," they wrote.
Another American agreed, saying they had heard that rumors about the personal lives of politicians in France were unlikely to affect their popularity.
"France people don't care if politicians are sexual deviants," a French user wrote.
Another French user explained that the best tactic to affect the public opinion of Macron in France was to create memes accusing Macron of not caring about terrorism.
A Swedish user created an image placing a photo of Macron underneath a picture of the Bataclan shooting with text that reads, "You just need to get used to this."
Threads like this don't end on 4chan, however. Similar conversations, with many of the same — or similar — memes have been happening in far-right internet communities since Sunday's election. The pro-Trump /r/The_Donald subreddit also began making Macron terrorism memes.
On Twitter, a handful of far-right accounts attempted to spread the Macron affair rumor.
One account in particular, @blessmyliberty, began tweeting the image of Macron next to Auzière that originated on 4chan.
The account mainly tweeted the rumor as a reply to larger accounts.
The same image appeared in a tweet by Chicago-based artist Brian Bojan Dordevic.
Dordevic was accused by other users of falling for a 4chan hoax, but then claimed that his source was this French article. The article does not include any claims about Macron having an extramarital affair.
Another account, called @anon2assange, tweeted a different photo that originated from the Macron 4chan thread.
By Monday, a few more tweets that referenced a possible brewing scandal surrounding Macron started appearing.
Around the same time, a very small account called @martinpaulam tweeted out an International Business Times story from February about WikiLeaks possibly publishing emails that would prove Macron was having a homosexual affair.
People can't seem to agree on what kind of scandal Macron is at the center of.
But it appears as though the 4chan thread was enough to create a sense of suspicion at least among a handful of Twitter users.
As of Tuesday, far-right users are asking WikiLeaks to release something on Macron that would help Le Pen's chances during the second round of voting on May 7.