#Radiolondres challenged the French Elections

During the French elections, Twitter was the place to be ! As a French law, the article L. 52-2 from the electoral code, prohibits people to talk about the results before 20 p.m. the evening of elections rounds, tweetos found a trick to divert the law.

Marc Vasseur, a politician, asked his followers:

And answers did not wait too long to emerge:

Alain Bembelly, a man fond of Twitter, gave an idea of hashtag that will be accepted straightaway:  #Radiolondres. This idea comes from the Second Wolrd War when French resistants were emiting radio talks from London. Then, people established a code to understand each other.

Journalists, such as Guillaume Champeau, suggested some ideas with clear references to different politicians. For instance, “the custard is in oven”, refering to his nickname Flanby, means that François Hollande is winning. “The tomato is ripe” means Mélenchon because of the reference to the red color of his party emblem.

Then, the phenomenon was launched and people put #Radiolondres in all their tweets. The hashtag became the most used to refer to the election. Twittos largely prefered it to the hashtag Elysée.

Even pictures appear to describe what was going on. During the first election round, some unknown candidates did not get a lot of voices, such as Jacques Cheminade. People published funny picture to explain his situation.

The hashtag had such a sucess that many media around the world published a best-off of the tweets, even The New-York Times wrote something about it.

Furthemore, people made caricature to show that people were most likely to follow the elections on Twitter than on TY. Even if most of the people were both watching TV and following the tweets.

Most of the tweets annouced the defeat of Sarkozy and were retweeted thousand of times.

Almost every tweet bearing the hashtag Radiolondres were joking about the departure form the Elysée of Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife. Their prediction proved to be true because François Hollande replaced Nicolas Sarkozy at the head of the French government.

But, can Twittos be condemned for diverting the French election law ?

People could be fined up to 75’000 euros for revealing results of the elections. Indeed, ten inspectors were mobilized to check people’s tweets. But up to now none seems to bear the consequences of these tweets.

This shows that social media may challenge current laws. As asked a blogger in his post: is #Radiolondres a trick or a true democratic challenge ? and would government be able to adapt their laws to the new technologies ? Thus, if they want to have a control on what happen on the Web 2.0, they need to anticipate the changes… and quickly!

Stéphanie Giroud


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  1. Elections présidentielles 2012: Revivez le 6 mai sur le Web ! « AJM Students' Blog

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