Benin-based FB Page Attacking Macron & Ukraine

Kristina Gildejeva, Independent,
Saman NazariAlliance4Europe

This Flash report was made possible through a collaboration facilitated by the EU Election ISAC.

Note: this report contains un-archived links. We have found no reliable way to achieve Facebook links.


The Facebook page Patriotes de France is running ads targeting France with anti-Macron and Ukraine content without disclosing the funder of the ads. Since August 2023 the page has created 90 ads (1). At least 40 ads were edited most likely to avoid detection by Meta’s algorithms (e.g. 234). The images were obscured or used the obscured spelling, for instance, “4kraine” instead of “Ukraine” (5). The majority of ads targeted Macron (e.g. 678), and Zelenskyy or pushed anti-Ukrainian messaging (e.g. 91011).

Figure 1. An example of the obscured anti-Macron messaging. This ad reached 7k Facebook followers in France (12).

Ads Paid with Canadian Dollars

Canadian Dollars were used to pay for all the ads Meta labelled as Social Issues, elections, and politics and taken down (e.g. 131415). As the other ads have not been labelled, we are not sure what currency was used. 

Figure 2: Ad paid using Canadian dollars (16).

The ads have “notre armée française, nos héros” (Our French army, our heroes) as their beneficiary and payer, hiding the advertiser’s origin while referencing the French army (e.g. 171819). 

Foreign Administrators

The page was created in August 2023 and is administered by one user from France and three from Benin.

Figure 3: Transparency centre showing administrators’ primary country.

Crocus City Hall Narrative

At least two ads accused Ukraine of being behind the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall, one of which also accuses the United States.

One suggests that a journalist from a respectable outlet is drawing a connection between Ukrainians and the Crocus City Hall attack, and calling it a master stroke (20). The ad also says that Macron-aligned actors are rejoicing in the attack and that French tax money is funding this (although it doesn’t specify how).

The second ad says “A few days before the Moscow attack against the concert hall, the US Embassy warned its citizens of the risk of an attack and advised its citizens not to attend concerts. The culprit unveiled his plans before committing the crime” (21).

Figure 4. An example of the obscured anti-Ukrainian messaging related to the Crocus City Hall attack. This ad reached 6k Facebook users in France.

Promotion of Rassemblement National and Russian narratives

The affiliation of the page is not clear but it openly advocates for Rassemblement National and pushes Kremlin-aligned narratives (e.g. 222324252627). The page is also copy-pasting posts from Rassemblement National (e.g. 282930303131):

Figure 5: An example of a regular post copy-pasted from the Rassemblent National Facebook page. 

They also republished one image from a Rassemblement National campaign #LEuropeSansEux (#EuropeWithoutThem), which targes Ursula von der Leyen and Emanuel Macron (32).

Figure 6: # LEuropeSansEux post. 

One of the ads promoted a fabricated Euronews video that the page claimed to represent farmers dumping dirt on the Ukrainian embassy (33). The video has been proven false (34), including in an article written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. It was republished by the Russian influence operation website (35).

Figure 7: Ad sharing fact-checked video. 


The page has 36k followers and 35k likes.
Between May 21 and 28, the page posted 24 posts, which in total got around 5k likes, 2.2k comments and 2.8k shares (see Evidence Sheet).
In May, their ads reached 405,714 people in France according to Meta’s Ad library.
The ads are reaching real individuals in France and the posts are having seemingly real people interact with them in scale. 

Key DISARM Objectives and Techniques

The Facebook page’s likely objective is to Smear their political opponents.

The key manipulative behaviours employed by the page include: 

Conceal network identity – the page seems to be hiding its true identity and affiliations. 

Create Personas – Identifying itself as a group of French patriots while seemingly primarily operating from Benin.

Deliver Ads – Using ads to reach their target audience without revealing the ads’ funding source. 

Manipulate Platform Algorithm –  At least 40 ads launched by the page were edited to make the text harder to read, most likely to avoid detection by Meta’s algorithms.


Code of Practice on Disinformation Rapid Response System was used to flag the case to Meta on 29/05/2024. Page still up on 05/06/2024. 

Further investigation into the page is needed to determine who is operating it and for what purpose. Some indicators point towards a foreign actor being involved, such as the use of Canadian dollars to pay for the ads and the admin accounts being from Benin.

Name and shame – highlight the page’s attempts to manipulate the French population without highlighting the content.