The Commission nationale informatique and freedoms (Cnil) has announced on Thursday that it would investigate “the complaints that had been referred to” regarding the conditions in which a belgian NGO has conducted a study on the impact of the case of Benalla on the social networks. The survey focuses on the collection and processing of personal data used and disseminated by DisinfoLab, an organization to fight against the misinformation.

complaints “in large numbers” refer to a study carried out by the belgian NGO DisinfoLab. Named “Case of Benalla, the springs of a hyperactivisme on twitter”, it sought to determine if there had been, or not, an interference of the Russian federation to increase the impact of the case on Twitter in particular.

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On this network, many users have complained about the fact that DisinfoLab had published on its web site files of people who have tweeted on the subject, with the number of messages or retweets, and their political affiliation assumed. The files were in fact the people according to the number of messages or retweets in connection with the case Benalla but also according to a profiling of the users, “pro-Mélenchon”, “pro-national Gathering” (RN, ex-FN) or “russophiles”, as well as the number of rumors, as determined by DisinfoLab and relayed.

‘t influence russophile

In a press release published on August 9, DisinfoLab apologizes, explaining that a “large number of people have felt stuck. We had not at all anticipated in making these data public. We are sincerely and deeply sorry, and we learn all the lessons. The study, conducted from 19 July to 3 August noted that more than 4.5 million tweets in French were exchanged on the topic, a volume that qualified as”exceptional”. Compared to BalanceTonPorc, DisinfoLab note “six times more than tweets for a number of authors comparable”.

The study shows indeed “the trend of behaviour of a minority of accounts very, very active” and qualified as a “russophile” for his many retweets of the Russian media, Russia Today and Sputnik, said to the AFP Alexandre Alaphilippe, a researcher at DisinfoLab, but “the reason of this behavior, we do not have”.

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These findings are reinforced by those of another study, conducted by a specialist of political communication online, Damien Liccia. “There is no interference with Russian in the case of Benalla. The influence of (robots) has been infinitesimal,”-he said to the AFP.


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