Are social media platforms making a difference in French presidential election campaigns?


More than ever, the French presidential campaign is taking place on social networks. Documentary videos on Youtube, live meetings on Twitch, a few dance steps to show off on Instagram, or even a bowling strike seen more than 6 million times on Tiktok. These are ideal spaces to attract voters at a lower cost and without time limits.

Social media trends are analyzed by a company called Favikon, establishing a ranking of French politicians on social platforms.

Three candidates stand out: Emmanuel Macron, Eric Zemmour, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon who is in the lead.

“It’s a campaign where the most radical subjects made a lot more commitment than the others. We saw it with Zemmour and Mélenchon. They’ve been in our ranking for six months. They both have been first, one after the other”, explains Jérémy. Boissinot, CEO of Favikon.

Social networks allow them to reach all categories of the population. If they want to reach a professional category, for example, there is Linkedin. To reach young people, we have Tiktok, and if we want to reach the general public, it’s Facebook. So today, there is a whole range of tools available to candidates to make themselves known on the networks”, added Boissinot.

Other candidates have not found their place on these platforms. And at the same time, are struggling to take off in the polls.

Boissinot explained: “The more usual candidates, such as Valérie Pécresse, Anne Hidalgo, or even Yannick Jadot, did not really succeed in imposing themselves, because their content did not arouse interest on social networks.

It must therefore be impactful: and for this, the digital teams of the candidate are working hard. Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet, professor of communication at Science Po, director of MCBG Conseil qualifies the presence on social networks as a “bonus of radicality”.

But Moreau-Chevrolet said these trends are sometimes misleading

“If we looked at social media to predict the results of the election, it looks like Eric Zemmour is going to be president. That’s what we could say today, maybe against Emmanuel Macron in the second round. But No, we can not “. On social networks, it is just the most radical who express themselves: it is not representative of reality. This is what Joe Biden diagnosed very well during the American campaign. He told his teams, “Don’t campaign on Twitter, watch what happens.” in real life. That’s a lot of what Marine Le Pen has done and it benefits her enormously today.”

Cyril Fourneris, journalist for Euronews, said: “In the age of social networks, one thing is certain: the strict rules of equal speaking time between candidates on television or radio have taken on an old look. Now, some in France are calling for a reform of the electoral code”.


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