Mediapart vs UMP: France experiences a Social Media war

by Laurent François


I don’t know if you’ve heard about UMP vs Mediapart affair:

“The accountant told the police that Mrs. Bettencourt’s chief financial adviser had handed an envelope with 150,000 euros, now worth about $190,000, to the treasurer of Mr. Sarkozy’s center-right party in March 2007. The treasurer, Éric Woerth, is labor minister and a central ally of the president’s who is in charge of a politically delicate effort to raise the retirement age in France.”

As Ms. Thibout (the accountant) first made her assertions on the news Web site Mediapart (one of the founder is Edwy Plenel), there’s now a media + Social Media war rising in France against the website!

Eric Woerth has a clear statement: it’s not his fault, there’s a vendetta against him & his wife, that is supposed to his mind to be organized by Socialist Party (PS). Between us, I’d love to be sure that PS is behind the scandal, but I can tell you they’re not ready for any structure opinion war at the moment.

Well then, Eric Woerth “cried us a river” as Justin Timberlake would sings, on TF1 prime time news show with Laurence Ferrari:

Then, all UMP spokepersons mention exactly the same story when they’re interviewed: Eric Woerth would be a victim, of a vendetta against his own person.

What’s more original for France is that Social Media UMP teams implemented a digital attack, right after Eric Woerth show on TF1. If you search “Liliane Bettencourt on Google”, you now find a very interesting sponsored link:

A dedicated “social” website to support Eric Woerth, driven by Search war + Word-of-Mouth !

Then, anytime an article or a positive post for UMP is published in Social Media, the official UMP twitter account “buzz” it to its communities…

Communities made of:

  • UMP fans
  • political observers like journalists
  • curious
  • engaged citizens

A way to propage their own vision, using “real” facts to reinforce their messages. Active listening at stake!

At the end, we’ll see if Eric Woerth is really innocent (or not). But 3 insights at least:

  • 2012 presidential elections are going to be highly aggressive
  • share of voice is now a key indicator: if you’re attacked, try to reduce the negative share of voice
  • Social Media is a question of organization, as “story” is now the central hub of all the other channels

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