How a 'digital army' paid for by French club Paris Saint-Germain smeared its opponents online

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An external agency paid by the Qatari-owned Paris club created an “army” of fake Twitter accounts which then carried out aggressive and foul-mouthed online smear campaigns, in particular against the media and some of the Paris football club's own leading figures. Mediapart and the sports newspaper L’Équipe were among the main targets. This “digital army” even had a go at PSG's French star Kylian Mbappé. Clément Fayol and Yann Philippin report.

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“Adrien Rabiot. Fat SOB. He doesn't move.” On the surface this was simply just another rude Tweet of the kind that, all too sadly, is commonly found on social media. But in reality this message posted on March 7th 2019 about the French footballer Adrien Rabiot was just one of hundreds published by accounts secretly controlled by the director of communications at the top French football club Paris Saint-Germain.