According to French law, results of voting for the Presidential election are not allowed to be published until voting ends on the day – at a specified time. So results from voting on Sunday including exit poll data, was prohibited from circulation until 20.00. Failure to comply with the rules can result in hefty fines and there are threats to sue both French and overseas bodies who break the law.
However, this year Twitter fans had other ideas. Using codes instead of names, information that Francois Holland had pulled ahead was circulated widely and candidates were allotted various secret names. We saw “caviar” for Sarkozy “flanby” for Hollande and the update “flanby est bien cuit” or “flanby (Hollande) is well cooked” alerting people ahead of the 20.00 information release deadline that he was in the lead. Information came from overseas websites which published information ahead of the deadline nonchalantly dismissing the threats of being sued.
Somebody suggested that with a fine of €75,000 per head, the Twitter campaign could well bail out any debt that France had and probably within 24 hours!