Pronouncing Nonsense in French

This report outlines the key themes from content shared by the Doppelgänger Operation from April 23 to May 3, 2024.
International Affairs
Social Media

Information Epidemiology Lab


May 7, 2024

See French-Language Doppelgänger posts from April 23 to May 03, 2024 and the Articles Shared by Doppelgänger.

French-language posts and articles emphasized controversies and governmental inadequacies, clearly focusing on attacking French President Emanuel Macron for a variety of reasons. While this batch of content from the last week of April contains some content on the Olympics, we already see that becoming a focus of French-language content going into the first week of May.

Domains publishing French articles this week include lepoint[.]wf, agoravox[.]fr, belaali[.]com, leparisien[.]top, rrn[.]media, tribunalukraine[.]info, candidat[.]news, lejdd[.]fr, humanite[.]fr, franceeteu[.]today, lavirgule[.]news, leprogres[.]fr, brunobertez[.]com, la-sante[.]info, lexomnium[.]com, lebelligerant[.]com, lesifflet[.]net, europe1[.]fr, laterrasse[.]online, histoireetsociete[.]com, observateurcontinental[.]fr, francetvinfo[.]fr, ladepeche[.]fr, basta[.]media, france3-regions[.]francetvinfo[.]fr, and h16free[.]com.

U.S. Aid to Ukraine is Bad; Also, Ukraine is Bad

Content argues that financial support is ineffective and detrimental to broader European stability. It frequently asserts that this aid is wasted on corruption within the Ukrainian government and misused in a manner that exacerbates conflict rather than leading to resolution.

  • Aid “Devoured” by Ukrainian Corruption: Examples include claims that the aid is “devoured by Ukrainian corruption” and merely delays Ukraine’s inevitable defeat without offering a path to victory. The articles express skepticism toward international alliances, implying that such financial assistance is not selfless but serves hidden agendas, ultimately harming both the recipient and the contributor.
  • Delayed Defeat: An article from lebelligerant[.]com, “A new dose of cash for Ukraine: it delays defeat, but victory?” stressed that the new funding from the United States would only delay defeat.
  • Anti-Ukraine Sentiment: Several articles disseminate negative portrayals of Ukraine, emphasizing corruption, ineffectual use of Western aid, and violence against civilians. One article in particular says, “How many Ukrainians died under the bullets of their own army?”

It goes on to claim that the Ukrainian military is firing on civilians who attempt to leave while stressing that Russia’s numbers are only increasing and that Ukraine does not care about its people.

Anti-Macron Sentiment

Figure 1: Cover photo for one of the articles posted by multiple accounts.

Many articles expressed discontent with French President Emmanuel Macron, focusing on his decreasing popularity and the allegedly imminent defeat he faces in the upcoming European elections. The content featured criticism from right—and left-leaning groups.

  • Selective Portrayal of Governmental Decision: Articles selectively portray the French government’s handling of various issues, including diplomatic, social welfare, economic policies, and response to transport strikes and infrastructural issues.
  • The problem with the critical content is not that it criticizes the government but rather the authors’ omission of relevant details, which might lead the audience to a different conclusion than the author.
  • Tweets and articles framed Xi Jinping’s visit as an opportunity for France to show its “independence.” Other examples of comments related to China include, “It is essential that France maintains good relations with China, despite American pressure.”

Portrayal of Increased Migrant Threat:

  • Magnifying the Minority: Articles highlight incidents and trends that the content ascribes to the negative impact of migrants in France. One article discusses the “rise in incidents linked to radical Islamism” as a specific threat to the Olympic Games.
  • Violence: Some content discusses the risk of violence in Paris. Others reflect on past violence, such as the terror attacks in Paris.
  • Outsiders Threaten France: The articles often portray migrants as threats to social stability. For example, stories forecast disruptiveness surrounding migrants at the Paris Olympics, using this to criticize Macron’s policies.

Highlighting Hyperpartisans

  • Far-Right Depicted as Heroic Liberators: There is a focus on the rise of far-right parties in Europe, depicted as the liberators from alleged over-dependence on the United States, oppressive EU policies, and migrants. Much like last week, content undermines the relationship between the United States and Europe, framing it as transactional and self-interested. An article on lepoint[.]wf stated, “The right will rid Europe of its vassal dependence on the United States.”
  • Appeals to Far-Left: The articles continuously discuss the supply of arms to Ukraine and Ukrainian corruption, framing Ukraine as a threat to European stability. By raising the alleged ineffectiveness of aid, expense, ulterior motives, and loss of human life, these articles add to a foundation that could be used by far-left groups that oppose military action and interventionism.
  • One article says, “The blood of civilians is on our hands.” The implication is that Ukraine is using weapons supplied to it by France on civilians. This claim is unsupported. Some countries have seen agreement between the far-right and far-left factions, opposing aid to Ukraine with different motivations. For this reason, it’s possible that the messages assessed as appealing to far-right or far-left groups could potentially appeal to both.

There were no overt calls for peace but instead content that cast doubt on whether the aid would ultimately be of benefit. This avoids the more difficult sell the EU should not support a neighboring country being attacked. Other content decries trivialization of racist speech and “persecution of Muslims who replace yesterday’s Jews,” which seems both concerned about one group while expressing racism toward another.

Information Manipulation Techniques

  • Cherry-picking Facts: Selecting specific incidents or data that support a negative image of targets like Macron or the Ukrainian government without providing full details, counterbalancing views, or broader context.
  • Conspiracy Framing: Suggestions that events or policies are part of a larger, negative agenda (e.g., claiming Macron is emptying Paris of homeless people solely for a superficial image during the Olympics).
  • Misleading Connections: Drawing causal connections where none explicitly exist, such as linking Macron’s policies directly to long-standing societal issues or arguing that the timing of unrelated events is evidence of a connection.
  • Fear-Mongering: Several articles infuse a sense of fear about immigration, governmental corruption, and societal collapse, implying that drastic action (like supporting far-right parties) is necessary. An article on lexomnium[.]com cited Hungarian diplomats to support the assertion that supporting Ukraine is headed toward World War III.
  • Divisive Language: The Doppelgänger publications polarize issues, presenting them as two-sided wars where you are either with the subject or against it, promoting an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. Disagreements receive one-sided treatments that misrepresent actual arguments made by opponents.
  • For Every Problem, Multiple Audiences: Far-right entities are often framed as the solution, rescuing the public from current leaders’ alleged failures and corruption. Again, examples of these failures may appeal to far-left or far-right groups.
    • One article raised that Sanofi decided to halt the sales of its flu vaccine, which it asserted was because the pricing set by health authorities was too low.
    • If you have a negative view of corporations, you might see uncontrolled greed at the expense of human life. If you are skeptical of government intervention or regulation, this may affirm that view.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {InfoEpi Lab},
  publisher = {Information Epidemiology Lab},
  title = {Pronouncing {Nonsense} in {French}},
  journal = {InfoEpi Lab},
  date = {2024-05-07},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
InfoEpi Lab. 2024. “Pronouncing Nonsense in French.” InfoEpi Lab, May.