Amandine le Pen and Léna Maréchal, 100% AI political influencers

16 April 2024 / Radouan Kourak

As the European elections approach, social networks are becoming the scene of a new form of political manipulation. Under the identities of Amandine le Pen and Léna Maréchal, two TikTok accounts emerged, openly supporting Jordan Bardella and Marion Maréchal, using a sophisticated artificial intelligence technique.

These fake accounts present themselves as members of the Le Pen family, taking on the faces of well-known political figures, but in a younger and more attractive version. Using a process known as “Deepfake,” the creators of these accounts manage to superimpose the faces of celebrities onto other people, creating a disturbing illusion of reality.

Despite their fictional appearance, these accounts have managed to gather a large community, with more than 30 subscribers each. Their content, carefully designed to match the aesthetic codes of TikTok, combines trendy music, catchy choreography and subtle political messages. Descriptions such as “The dress I will wear for Jordan's victory” or references to the triumphant future testify to their political commitment.

If some initially took these accounts as parodies intended to ridicule certain political ideas, it appears that their impact is the opposite. Indeed, they manage to attract a portion of young people, as evidenced by the enthusiastic comments left under the videos.

However, this manipulation also provokes reactions of condemnation. Voices have been raised to denounce this misleading use of artificial intelligence for political purposes. Philippe Olivier, MEP, affirmed his disagreement with this type of practice, emphasizing that the altered representation of political figures does not correspond to the vision of the Le Pen family.

On the Reconquête side, Sarah Knafo, advisor, said she had reported the “Léna Maréchal” account, although no legal action has yet been taken by the parties concerned.

TikTok ultimately responded by removing these accounts, arguing that they violated the platform's rules regarding content generated by artificial intelligence. This case raises questions about the ethical use of AI in politics and highlights the challenges posed by online disinformation in the run-up to elections.