French voters are being deluged with false stories on social media ahead of the country’s presidential election, though the onslaught of “Fake News” is not as severe as that during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign. There is evidence to back up complaints by officials in France, Germany and the United States that Russia is trying to replicate its cyber-powered election meddling in American politics, this time in France. Just days before France votes in the first round of a presidential election, misinformation at times has accounted for one-quarter of the political links shared on Twitter in France. “Funk News” is defined as deliberately false stories and those expressing “ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan or conspiratorial” views with logical flaws and opinions passed along as facts. To combat the problem, Facebook recently suspended 30,000 suspected automated accounts in France. Although it characterized the cleanup as an objective move against spamming, many of the profiles were distributing politically driven misinformation and propaganda. On Twitter, where automated accounts are allowed, many of the same accounts that promoted Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. campaign last year have turned their attention to pushing conspiracy theories and far-right viewpoints.
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