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What the French Elections Twitter Leak Tells Us about Social Media

What the French Election’s Twitter Leak Tells Us about Social Media So, France is electing a president and, like everything French, they have a large number of rules and regulations governing how this election should go down. One of them is that it is illegal to give any sort of polling information until the last polls close, so situations where people are influenced by exit polling or even seeing that a candidate has won a certain area would be impossible. For most of France’s history, this situation has done well. Not so in the most recent election, where the polling numbers for the main candidates were released on Twitter, albeit in a coded way (in an example given in the article, it was depicted as a weather report with countries that obviously represented each candidate was used).

What the French Election’s Twitter Leak Tells Us about Social Media So, France is electing a president and, like everything French, they have a large number of rules and regulations governing how this election should go down. One of them is that it is illegal to give any sort of polling information until the last polls close, so situations where people are influenced by exit polling or even seeing that a candidate has won a certain area would be impossible. For most of France’s history, this situation has done well. Not so in the most recent election, where the polling numbers for the main candidates were released on Twitter, albeit in a coded way (in an example given in the article, it was depicted as a weather report with countries that obviously represented each candidate was used). The codes were so simple, of course, that it merely provided a tiny amount of plausible deniability, so if the Tweeter were to be brought up on charges they would at least have something to say. This, of course, is more than a minor annoyance to a single governmental process in Europe; it shows what social media really is about. Fifty years ago, the media was tightly controlled; if not by the government, then by journalists themselves. No information could be easily released unless it was passed through some level of control. While there were still things such as rumor and even underground mailing lists, communicating with a whole country instantaneously was not possible without establishment help. What does this mean that this has changed? Well, it shows once again that the spread of information has become much more democratic, for good or for ill. I don’t know if announcing the results of this election before they should be is good or bad for France, but I do know that it shows that things are not how they used to be.

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