French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign delivered a statement addressing the “massive” computer hack that dumped staff emails nearly two days before voters head to the polls, asking the media to be “responsible” in their coverage of the hack.
“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” their statement read.
According to campaign officials, it appeared that false information had been fabricated and mixed in with the authentic documents to sow “doubt and misinformation” on social media, a Reuters report said. French officials also stated that publishing the information would lead to criminal charges.
“We are calling to the media willing to cover this, to be responsible. It is not a simple hacking but a tentative to disrupt the presidential election,” Macron’s campaign said.
Though the nine gigabytes of data were shared by an anonymous user online on Friday, officials declined to comment on the matter, due to French election “blackout” rules that prohibit disseminating information that might influence an election. The blackout went into effect at midnight on Friday, local time.
The timing of the release evokes similarities to the 2016 US presidential election in which emails damaging to the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers were leaked in the months and weeks leading up to Election Day. The leaks were seen as damaging to Clinton, despite widely held expectations that she would easliy beat Donald Trump at the polls.
Similarly, polls show that the independent centrist Macron is expected to beat the National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the French election.
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