Eric Zemmour has chosen Youtube to announce his bid for the presidency of France and he has a dozen of affiliated Twitter accounts to advance his project. From the beginning, he has surrounded himself with a digital team composed of a variety of profiles. Follow us into this nebula to meet the fans from day one, the little hands that work behind the scenes and the mastermind that makes it all happen.
If a word can capture someone’s most valuable quality, this word would be “intuition” for François Miramont. Headhunter for « Brigh On », a company he owns, he stared tweeting in support of Zemmour as early as 2017. Between two whimsical videos of Jean Marie Bigard, this fifty-year-old businessman added complementary messages addressed to Zemmour, « a journalist I have been following for many years now », he confides.
His intuition led him to create a Facebook account in 2019, « Les amis d’Eric Zemmour ». Its objective? backing the possible candidacy of Zemmour and encouring his supporters to come together in « rejection of Emmanuel Macron », in « the near absence of a leader on the right » and in opposition to Marine Le Pen.
An initiative approved by Zemmour
But « Les Amis d’Eric Zemmour » was suspended three times by Facebook because it violated the company’s terms and conditions. Tired of this « censorship », Miramont decided to create a website using the same title. Zemmour approved this initiative. That was the first time they got in touch. « I always thought he had the ability to run for president » he says today. Impeccable Intuition.
François Miramont and his son Alexandre who « gives him a hand », first flooded the website with every media outbursts of Zemmour. The first version of the platform compiled quotes from the not yet candidate. Then, it broadened its content by adding news articles and videos. It thus gained visibility. In April 2021, a legal structure was created and a few months later, the « Friends of Eric Zemmour » committee was transformed into a political party. This marked the beginning of « Requonquest ».
Front page of the « Reconquest » website. Screenshot
Today, François Miramont has left the reins of the website to head the efforts to collect sponsors. A team is now in charge of the candidate’s digital communication. However, Miramont likes to recall that he was « the first president of the association ». He has never met the members of this new digital task force. « We don’t have time for that », he says. Looking at the recently established team, one man stands out: Samuel Lafont. He alone symbolizes the professionalism of the new strategy stamped by Éric Zemmour. « He runs all the websites but leans on his entire squad as he, himself, is not a tech person » likes to indicate Miramont.
Samuel Lafont, the mastermind
Heading a « riposte » cell in charge of animating the online campaign, Samuel Lafont is a graduate from Institute of political sciences, of Essec and of the Sorbonne University. In 2013, the 33-year-old became known for his support of La Manif pour tous. Fond of political communication and social networks, this member of “Les Républicains” was a member of François Fillon’s digital team in 2017.
A year earlier, in 2016, he co-founded « Damocles », a website that claims to be informative but has a clear political agenda: denounce « unbridled mass immigration », « jihadists (who) infiltrate the state services », « the media stuffed with subsidies » and « the state that has a Soviet administration ».
Taking over the Internet
The ambitions of this young party executive are clear. From June 2020, he took part in the efforts to propagate the #DemainAvecZemmour hashtag as revealed by FranceInfo. In 2021, his presence online was strengthened by the implementation of about fifty Twitter accounts such as « Women with Zemmour », « Young people with Zemmour », or « North Africans with Zemmour ». It is likely that these accounts were created by the team of Eric Zemmour, as a way to expand their web presence.
Éric Zemmour’s teams flood social networks with accounts. Twitter screenshot.
Although Éric Zemmour has never hidden his aversion to social networks, the far-right candidate has been active on these platforms since October 2021. The candidate has more than 800 000 followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Gettr. And his strategy keeps accelerating, as nine sites are createdbetween June 2019 and November 2021. All of them are based on the domain name of one of Éric Zemmour’s first digital supporters, François Miramont.
Behind this new digital strategy, there are the masterminds of Reconquest but also the militants of Generation Z, young supporters of the movement. Since the beginning of the summer of 2021, this movement brings together young hard-right activists and abounds in social networks with posts in favor of Eric Zemmour.
At the same time, geolocated Twitter accounts are multiplying using the names of French regions (Pays de la Loire, Vaucluse, Grand Est, etc.), all with the same visual identity. And the small, highly motivated digital hands of Generation Z are eager to put their professional skills at the service of the candidate.
Eléonore Lhéritier, the unnoticed player
This is the case of Eléonore Lhéritier. This young public relations consultant who presents herself as self-taught on her Linkedin profile, created « Elagency » in 2015. An agency specialized in « the development and optimization of websites ». The group offers to « take care of the digital communication of its clients » and its services include : « the establishment of web and print marketing materials », but also « the implementation of emailing campaigns », or the setting up of content for social networks.
It is this Montpellier-based company « Elagençy » that owns the generation-zemmour.fr domain name, as we can see here. The young Zemmourian guard seems to have taken on a significant importance in the candidate’s digital strategy. According to « Médiapart« , Eléonore Lhéritier has acknowledged her role in Eric Zemmour’s campaign, while not wishing to express herself on the subject in the media, preferring to remain « in the shadows ». Concretely, she’s responsable national of the party.
It is this Montpellier-based company « Elagençy » that owns the generation-zemmour.fr domain name, as we can see here. The young Zemmourian guard seems to have taken on a significant importance in the candidate’s digital strategy. According to « Médiapart« , Eléonore Lhéritier has acknowledged her role in Eric Zemmour’s campaign, while not wishing to express herself on the subject in the media, preferring to remain « in the shadows ». However, her twitter account states that she is one of the heads of Requonquest.
Eléonore Lhéritier now displays her support for the far right candidate. Twitter screenshot.
She had already shown her support for the polemicist, three months before his candidacy became official, but under another name (Eleonore Dubreuil). Later, on the same network, she posted a photo with the hashtag #LesFemmesAvecZemmour. A strategy that aimed to disqualify the misogynistic image of the current candidate. Like the majority of the little digital hands stamped by Éric Zemmour, Eléonore Lhéritier no longer hides her support for her champion.
Raphael Lardeur, Joseph Lacroix-Nahmias and Philippine Thibaudault
The first step of this investigation was to look at the team surrounding Eric Zemmour. More precisely, the communication team behind the multiple websites and social networks. After our information watch on this subject, we wanted to identify three characters whose background represented typical examples of people working for the candidate.
- In our research (an investigation by Le Monde) other names stand out, more discreet, and yet from the first hour. Another investigation by Radio France and Le Figaro completed our knowledge. This is the case of François Miramont, and his son Alexandre. Two years ago, he created a website lesamisdericzemmour.fr. He always appears in the legal mentions as the owner of the site.
- By passing the site in the Marcaria tool, we find a number that we call and fall directly on François Miramont himself. This discussion sheds light on his role. A role that has grown in the collection of information. His answers will join another interview given to Actu.fr.
- Thanks to Waybackmachine, we discover the evolution of the site. At the beginning, it collects quotes from the candidate, then it moves to sharing videos of his media interventions. The first version of the site recalls that Eric Zemmour is not at the origin of this project but has been warned. The note of intent is even signed by François Miramont. His signature disappears as the site evolves.
- François Miramont is present on many social networks (Copains d’avant, Twitter, Linkedin…), which allows us to better know his profile.
- One name did emerge from the interview and our research, however, and that was Samuel Lafont. The mastermind of this whole strategy. Here, several tools concerning Twitter were useful for us to understand a little more about the 33 year old’s interests: followeraudit.com, accountanalysis.app, github.com, tweettopicexplorer.neoformix.com. By targeting his twitter account and continuing to analyse websites with Digital Network Intelligence tools, we were able to trace a third character, Eléonore Lheritier.
- When contacted, Samuel Lafont did not respond to our requests.
- Eleonore Lheritier’s name appears stealthily in two articles dealing with Eric Zemmour’s digital campaign strategy. After inspecting her various social networks, it was difficult to know what role the young woman really played around the Zemmour team. Thanks to the site https://whois.marcaria.com/en, we sifted through the different sites of young people with zemmour and we made the following discovery : the owner of the domain name generation-zemmour.fr is a certain company called Elagency.
- This communication agency belongs to Eleonore Lheritier. We therefore tried to determine the role played by the young communicator within the candidate’s digital campaign. With the tool accountanalysis.app it was possible to trace the history of Elenore Lheritier’s twitter account. The latter changed her Twitter bio twice between August and December 2021. To try to find out more about her role and that of her company Elagency at the heart of the Zemmour campaign, we tried to contact the activist. She did not respond to our solicitations
- She did not respond to our request for an interview.