Since mid-July, Le Point has been the victim of identity theft as part of a vast pro-Russian disinformation campaign.
The illusion is, alas, almost perfect. Colour, typo, logo… everything seems to conform to the identity of Le Point. Everything… except for one detail hidden in the site’s URL, which does not link to lepoint.fr
The articles ? They denounce the policy of France in Ukraine. The usurpation was spotted by Victor Baissent, an expert on fake news and fake accounts. In a thread shared on Twitter, he details the terms of the operation: a domain name close to the original is registered, articles imitating Le Point in a clone site are generated to then be relayed massively on social networks by fake accounts, powered by bots and reacting to keywords.
This type of usurpation is not a first but is part of a much larger campaign, linked to the war in Ukraine and which has been going on for several months.
In 2022, 16 media in Europe, such as 20 Minutes, The Guardian, etc., had been targeted and cloned in this way. The procedure is similar. According to the Vigilance and Protection Service against Foreign Digital Interference (Viginun), the campaign aims to discredit Western support for Ukraine and is based on four components.
“Spreading pro-Russian content related to the war in Ukraine, including disparaging its leaders; the usurpation of the identity of media sites, but also governmental, European, via the technique of typosquatting aimed at reproducing their domain name; the creation of French-speaking news websites sharing controversial content, instrumentalizing French national news; the implementation of combined inauthentic means, such as fake sites or fake accounts on social networks, to relay the content” details Viginum.
So be vigilant about articles that circulate on social networks and seem to come from Le Point. Check that the article URL begins with https://www.lepoint.fr/
We will keep you informed of the follow-up.