"The chickens got a rabbit. I repeat: the chickens had a rabbit. It's almost eleven o'clock, December 22, when a yellow Vest is gouging on Facebook. While the police are cruising in a Versailles (Yvelines) almost deserted, hundreds of demonstrators rush to heart the marches of Montmartre in Paris.
Social networks can triumph: this is where this trick was played, the nose and beard of the authorities. Act 6 of the sling was relocated at the last minute, at the call of some leaders, and no one seems to have seen anything coming ...
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It must be said that the movement born of the increase in the price of fuels is organized in a decentralized manner, of chaotic appearance and extremely difficult to read and anticipate from the outside.
From the beginning, in the fall, dozens of pages, groups and events are created on Facebook. They often deal with the same topics, sometimes even have the same name, which pushes the social network to remove some duplicates.
The most suspicious users soon see a censorship, the hand of a power anxious to silence the beginning of digital revolt. Other platforms, considered more neutral, are quickly invested.
Telegram, WhatsApp, VKontakte and Discord
Thousands of yellow vests are found on messengers, encrypted (Telegram) or not (WhatsApp), or platforms like the "Russian Facebook" VKontakte or Discord.
Originally designed for geeks keen on video games, this forum has the advantage of a very organized interface, when a classic Facebook group is subject to a permanent hubbub made of "live" videos, photomontages and information to the origin more or less doubtful.
Accessible by invitation only, one of the most popular topics of the forum is dedicated to the "national structuring" of the movement. The nearly 20,000 users, under the wing of "regional coordinators", can offer their expertise, for example in communication, and thus get down to the making of press releases.
Of all these channels, the mastodon is of course Facebook. On its own, the largest group of Yellow Vests lists nearly two million Internet users. It is sometimes necessary to show paw to join the good sections, and fill a form in order to see its membership validated by a moderator.
Some users are still entrenched in collective conversations, more discreet than the public "walls". Friday, one of them, sheltered by the page of Maxime Nicolle, aka "Fly Rider", rustled with a new "trap" reserved for the police.
The rumors were based on the video of an "Angry Gypsies" figure, a Facebook page of a few thousand yellow vests reserved for Travelers. Alone in his vehicle, his eyes fixed on his camera, the man assured that his group would not go to Paris, as announced, but elsewhere ... The destination, he promised, would be revealed in the night.