Twitter Users Employ WWII Hashtag to Skirt French Election Law [VIDEO]
Socialist challenger François Hollande unseated Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election Sunday, making Sarkozy the first French president in 30 years to lose reelection.
Twitter users circumvented an election results embargo — as they did April 22 during the first round of voting — by using code names for the two candidates. A 1977 French law prohibits the release of results before 8 p.m. on election night and fines violators up to $99,000.
Discussions used the same hashtag, #radiolondres, as they did during the first round of voting. Radio Londres was a World War II BBC broadcast, which would use code words to communicate with the French resistance fighters during the Nazi occupation of France.
Among different code names, Sarkozy was referred to as Hungarian Tokaji wine, because of his Hungarian father, and Rolex, because of his extravagant lifestyle. Hollande was referred to as Gouda cheese and Flanby, a limp pudding, which his opponents say reflect his ability to be president. During the first round of voting, Left Party candidate Jean-Luc Melechon’s pseudonym was tomato, a reference to the former Soviet Union. Front National Party candidate Marine Le Pen was called by the names of various dictators.
Swiss, Belgian and French Canadian Twitter users — including Jean-J. Stréliski, below, a professor in Montreal — participated in the talks of results. They contended their discussions could not be restricted by the French law.
53% de remise sur le gouda et 47% sur les Rolex #radiolondres
— Jean-J. Stréliski (@jjstreliski) May 6, 2012
Though we don’t yet have data on the volume of Sunday’s #radiolondres tweets, the hashtag received some 64,575 mentions on April 22, according to Vanksen.
Should France punish Twitter users who broke the election result discussion embargo using code? Sound off in the comments.
Image courtesy of the Government of France