SaveSave story

Fake news hits France

Christophe Ena / AP

Nearly 1 in 4 links shared by social media users in France in the days leading up to elections contained fake news, according to a new study published by U.K.-based firm Bakamo on Wednesday.

Winners: Much of it favored anti-E.U. candidates — both on the far right and far left — and revealed hints of Russian influence.

This sounds familiar: The trend exhibits the powerful role that fake news can play on public opinion ahead of elections, and harkens back to Russian meddling in the US election.

Intriguing data points:

  • 19.2% of links didn't "adhere to journalistic standards" and expressed "radical opinions... to craft a disruptive narrative." These types of stories were shared almost twice as many times as those that followed mainstream sources.
  • 5% of links related to "narratives [that were] often mythical, almost theological in nature" or discussed "conspiracy theories."
  • It favored populist candidates: Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Francois Asselineau, and Philippe Poutou, as well as center-right candidate Francois FIllon, who is Russia-friendly.
  • No other foreign source of influence was detected beyond Russia
  • Themes attacked included globalisation, big corporations, and US or EU "imperialism".
Jonathan Swan 1 hour ago
SaveSave story

Bolton bombshell: the clashes to come

John Bolton
John Bolton speaks at CPAC in 2016. Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sources close to President Trump say he feels John Bolton, hurriedly named last night to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, will finally deliver the foreign policy the president wants — particularly on Iran and North Korea.

Why it matters: We can’t overstate how dramatic a change it is for Trump to replace H.R. McMaster with Bolton, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush.

Erica Pandey 2 hours ago
SaveSave story

How China became a powerhouse of espionage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

As China’s influence spreads to every corner of the globe under President Xi Jinping, so do its spies.

Why it matters: China has the money and the ambition to build a vast foreign intelligence network, including inside the United States. Meanwhile, American intelligence-gathering on China is falling short, Chris Johnson, a former senior China analyst for the CIA who's now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells Axios: "We have to at least live up to [China's] expectations. And we aren't doing that."