France’s online “fachosphere” fuels hopes for right-wing elections


Estelle “Redpill”, 25, wearing a tight leopard print dress, said her sexy is helping citizens awaken the dangerous political reality that France faces in next year’s presidential election, especially with regard to immigration.

Named after the red pill that revealed the truth in the 1999 movie matrix, The luxuriously dressed Estelle is one of the many right-wing social media influencers who have rapidly flooded into the so-called fascist circle in France in the past six years.

Although they often have different ideas, they share a nativist, anti-immigration worldview, and seem to generally desire a more authoritarian government. Analysts said that by expressing extremist views that party members do not need to make public, they tacitly provided an important canvassing role for the established far-right National Unity Party.

The leader of RN, Marine Le Pen, tried to “detoxify” the party’s extremist image without alienating her traditional voters.Now, with the fashion circle, Le Pen “does not need to get her hands dirty because these Internet influencers did the dirty work for her,” French journalist David Doucet, also a book about Author of the book of fashion circles, Said.

These influential people use sexy, shocking jokes, cartoons, and memes to entice viewers to accept their usually extreme views (when TikTok forbade Estelle from posting content it considered discriminatory, she opened a new account ). Their main audience is unpoliticized young voters-this is an important battlefield for next April elections.

Estelle “Redpill” criticized Marine Le Pen’s “hypocrisy” for becoming “weaker to please immigrants”. .. So that she has a better chance of winning”

According to Ipsos and Ifop polls, RN is now The most popular party for 25-34 year olds, And President Emmanuel Macron leads between the ages of 18 and 24. But many people in these groups usually do not vote.In the 2017 presidential election, 63% of people under the age of 34 The first round of abstention.

One of the goals of fachosphere is to get these potential voters to accept their views and make them more involved in politics. Doucet said that they “have the code of LOL culture.”

No one is more inclined to cover up usually sinister content with jokes than the YouTube and Instagram influencer “Papacito”. His real name is Ugo Gil Jimenez.

In June, he released a video titled “Is the Leftist Bulletproof?” In the video, he simulated execution of people who voted for the left-wing French Indomitable Party led by socialist Jean-Luc Mélanchon. Jimenez defended himself, calling the video “humorous.”

A graph showing the percentage of satisfaction with democracy by age and generational groups shows that successive generations have lower confidence in democracy than the previous generation—and usually worsens with age.Millennials (1981-1996) have the lowest confidence in democracy, and less than half are satisfied with democracy

Macron produced his own social media content in an attempt to combat the influence of extremism. In May, he challenged two famous YouTube owners and asked them to make a video about social distancing rules. If the video is viewed more than 10 million times, he will be rewarded with a trip to the Elysee and a video with Macron. They will compete in the video to guess whether there is an anecdote about his life that is true or false.

Their video and Macron received an impressive 15 million views A dose of mockery. Left-wing influencers also use satire and popular culture to spread their message among young people.

But France’s far-right has always shown more Internet agility and shrewdness. RN, formerly known as the National Front, was the first political party to establish a website in the 1990s. In the late 1990s, far-right theorists created successful online propaganda websites to support anti-immigration theories.

Then, as the social media wave expanded, new voices deployed new forms on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Telegram. Their core message comes down to immigration, and they claim that foreigners have failed to integrate into society.

“We are Europeans, and we want to maintain a majority in the continent of our ancestors and in the cities they built. Is that difficult to understand?” Daniel Conversano, an ideological participant in the alternative right-wing social media circle in France ) Say.

He told the British Financial Times via WhatsApp that his followers are often young people who are “desperate for their future, whether it is unemployment, lack of safety in public places, or the catastrophic relationship between men and women in the Western world”.

YouTube and Instagram influencer “Papacito” posted a video in which he simulated execution of people who voted for the left-wing French Unbowed party © Youtube

Le Pen’s detoxification strategy was designed to make RN more selective, but it did not play a good role in these influencers. Instead, many people associate their skin color with more radical fringe politicians, such as Eric Zemmour, who is a televised debater. is convicted To provoke racial hatred.

Estelle said she was dissatisfied with Le Pen’s “hypocrisy” and she became “weaker to please immigrants.” .. This way she has a better chance of winning.” In contrast, Zemur is more “real” and will get her vote.

If Zemmour runs for next year, as he hinted, these Internet influencers may split the far-right voting and weaken Le Pen. Opinion polls show that she is the politician most likely to face Macron in the second round of the final.

Some analysts believe that the countercultural influence of the far-right Internet is exaggerated. Despite the efforts, many people who produce and consume its content may not vote.

Caterina Froio, assistant professor of political science, said that the nativist stance of influencers has built an “ideological bridge” between RN and fringe network groups.

Froio said Le Pen may want to distance himself from them, but he also relies on them to make up for the “serious staff shortage” of registered nurses.

“There are a lot of young people who have never read foreign political books, but get political ideas by watching such videos,” Dussett added. “The current campaign is to click and post information, so RN needs these people.”


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