UNICEPTA reveals for the German weekly newspaper Die ZEIT, how a smear campaign can develop momentum, leaping across countries and different types of media.
Bad news travel fast and far. But how do Fake News spread in detail? For the first time, we can now track this in a concrete example: the claim that French presidential candidate Emanuel Macron is gay – one of the dominating issues in the French elections in the past weeks. How did it become an issue at all? UNICEPTA data, published in Die Zeit on Thursday, February 23, 2017, shows how it happened.
Rumors about Macron’s possible homosexuality have been around on the French-speaking internet since May 2016, but have not gained any real momentum. Until a conservative French member of parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, gave an interview to the pro-Russian propaganda website Sputnik International on February 4, 2017. “He has a very wealthy gay lobby behind him. That says everything,” said Dhuicq on sputniknews.com. Everybody understood what he was trying to say: Macron is gay.
The graphs compiled using UNICEPTA’s analysis tool show how the news went viral after that and was referenced across all types of media.