The Independent and Huffington Post UK were both caught out by a tweet praising Theresa May’s party conference speech that seemed to come from right-wing French politician Marine Le Pen.
The tweet was sent by an account using the handle @ElyseeMarine with the name MLP Présidente 2017. Le Pen is the leader of the right-wing Front National in France.
Above a quote made by May, in which she said: “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”, were the words “exactement” (exactly) and an applause emoji.
The comment from was seized on by Twitter users and both newspapers.
But on closer inspection, the words “compte non official” (unofficial account) can be seen in the Twitter bio along with a link to Le Pen’s official, blue-tick account @MLP_officiel and a number of other FN party affiliates.
Le Pen’s official account made no comment on the British Prime Minister’s Conservative Party conference speech.
The Independent, which has since pulled the story, wrote: “One of the most controversial comments of Theresa May’s Conservative conference speech has received a ringing endorsement from French far right leader, Marine Le Pen.”
The Huffington Post said: “Theresa May’s speech to the Tory Party Conference has embarrassingly been backed by Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front.”
The Huffington Post story has also been pulled.
Spotting the error, Buzzfeed’s political journalist Marie Le Conte posted a screengrab of the two stories on Twitter with the caption: “This week in ‘who cares if the tweet came from a parody account, all traffic is good traffic’.”