Political parodies on Twitter: “It’s the continuity of the Guignols and the Bébête Show”

Christophe Castagnette, Valérie Traitresse, François Ruppin… On Twitter, parody accounts of politicians are more and more numerous. Making fun of deputies and even ministers, they issue publications that very often go viral on the social network. Some, like Sardine Ruisseau, even manage to exceed the number of subscribers of the true profile of the elected official whom he makes fun of.

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It is the continuity of the Guignols or the Bébête Show and it is part of a long French tradition of political satire, which began in the 19th century and then evolved with the times. The major change is that you no longer need to have a television or a subscription to Canal + “, emphasizes Fabrice Epelboin, specialist in digital media and social networks. ” Some people undeniably give more material to be parodied. We can cite Sandrine Rousseau but also Éric Zemmour, that is to say political figures who have the art of provoking and delivering very divisive messages. »

It happens that certain political personalities are annoyed by these twittoresque satires. Already in 2018, several LREM parliamentarians (now Renaissance) called for the deletion of the “Le Journal de l’Élysée” account, then accused of damaging public speech. ” These tweets circulate, pollute, and lend us lies. Stop “, protested in particular the deputy of Yvelines Aurore Bergé on the social network.

Cyber ​​harassment ?

Today, it’s Sandrine Rousseau’s turn to regularly rail against her parody double. ” It’s a far-right cyberstalking account. As it exists at Bolsonaro, Salvini etc. towards female politicians “, declared the ecologist deputy, in a tweet last July. ” I am very sorry if she is cyberstalked, I strongly condemn it. I never called to launch raids against her, I even asked several times that we delete certain insulting or aggressive tweets against her. “, answers him in The Parisian the original user of Sardine Ruisseau, wishing to remain anonymous.

A short time ago, following massive reports from her supporters, the unsuccessful candidate for the EELV primary had managed to obtain the suspension of the satirical account, for only a few hours. ” A member who calls to silence someone, it’s not very nice. And it is above all counter-productive, it has only amplified the phenomenon “, believes Fabrice Epelboin. ” This type of censorship happens frequently on Twitter. But when it comes to accounts with thousands of subscribers, after the automatic suspension caused by numerous reports from Internet users, there is a manual verification of the platform. This explains why Sardine Ruisseau’s blocking did not last long. »

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Twitter also has a clear policy on the subject, which consists of explicitly specifying the parody vocation of the profile in the user name or in the “biography” space. In order for this type of online humor to also comply with the law, “ there must not be any desire for identity theft or guilty intentions in the publications “, explains Alexandre Bigot Joly, lawyer at the Paris bar and member of the Influxio firm. And to continue: If there is no “right to mock”, there is still a certain tolerance when the satire concerns public figures. » Tolerance protected by the law of 29 July 1881 on the freedom of the press.

On the cyberbullying aspect, on the other hand, “ it is not impossible that she could prevail if she decided to launch a procedure », Considers the lawyer. Not against the parody account itself, but hate messages or other ” Visible infringements resulting from it, the authors of which could be ordinary users or “parody accounts of parody accounts” “.

Political parodies on Twitter: “It’s the continuity of the Guignols and the Bébête Show”