Russian and Iranian influence actors target French elections

In its latest research, the Insikt Group, a threat intelligence research arm of privately held cybersecurity company Recorded Future, has identified that the upcoming French elections are a target of foreign malign influence operations linked to Russia and Iran.

The Iniskt Group is monitoring extensive activity emanating from the well-documented Russia-linked Doppelgänger network, which targets French audiences with content impersonating French media organizations. As a result, numerous bot accounts are amplifying this on social media.

CopyCop, a Russian influence network, continues to target French audiences by using large language models (LLMs) to promote pro-Russia content in French that disparages President Macron and discourages European support for Ukraine.

This network is notable for using AI-generated content to plagiarize and manipulate articles from leading French media outlets.

CopyCop recently registered two new websites:, which incites conspiracy theories about a ‘hidden truth’, and, which incites a ‘protest mood’ by implying that ‘the French are angry’. One of them has an article impersonating the presidential coalition “Ensemble Pour La République” to falsely promise Ensemble voters a 100€ reward.

The most prominent of these operations is one that targets French audiences with content impersonating legitimate French media outlets. Using cloned websites, this network spreads pro-Russian, eurosceptic, and populist political positions. The network employs automated, coordinated, inauthentic behavior on social media to amplify its reach.

The network portrays French President Macron as ineffective and criticizes both his domestic and foreign policies. This pro-Russian disinformation network frames the far-right National Rally Party as a preferable alternative that offers good solutions to France’s problems.

The Insikt Group is closely monitoring the influence activity emanating from online resources associated with Iran’s International Union of Virtual Media (IUVM), with the objective of undermining France’s support for Israel ahead of the 2024 French election.

Even though Doppelgänger, CopyCop, and IUVM have so far failed in their attempts to influence French public opinion, constant surveillance is vital to identify and mitigate foreign malicious influence operations, disrupt the networks’ activities, and force threat actors to sharpen their strategies.

You can read the entire Insikt Group analysis here.

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