Angela Merkel has similar experience as Hillary Clinton, who was regularly attacked on Twitter by Elizabeth Hopkins during the presidential campaign. German Chancellor faces the same activity against her on Facebook because of the recent attack on the Berlin market.
Merkel was criticized by the same person who argued against Clinton. Elizabeth Hopkins started her internet “campaign” right after the incident that killed 12 and injured almost 50 visitors of the Christmas market in Berlin. The woman accused Chancellor in the annihilation of own people and claimed that all Muslims should be forced out of Germany.
Hopkins isn’t the only person, who wants to express negative feelings to Merkel. Since the truck attack chancellor’s accounts on Twitter and Facebook were “bombarded” by the avalanche of negative posts. Many of them were slightly modernized copies of comments that spoke about Donald Trump. It makes officials think some visitors were bots and the attack could be organized by someone.
The mentioned link between Merkel and Trump wasn’t accidental, as attackers can use same tactics that helped the Republican candidate to win presidential elections. According to Simon Hegelich, the attack on the German Chancellor on social media show patterns similar to psychological operations, or psyops, deployed by governments to influence opinion in their favour. As the man studies the manipulation of social networks at Munich’s Technical University, he can be treated as a credible source.
While the internet is a strong instrument that can influence on the public opinion, experts don’t have irrefutable evidences these massive online attacks will set the society against Merkel. Many people defended her on social media, backing her stance on refugees and saying the Berlin attacks had nothing to do with migration. Pretzell’s Twitter post was met by swift and plentiful criticism from other users. N24’s most popular Facebook comment during the attacks, liked about 7,000 times, supported Merkel, saying she was not to blame and urging people to stand together instead of spreading fear and mistrust.
Angela Merkel should keep Germany liberal
At least some media workers and representatives of other spheres believe the Chancellor should maintain liberal views on migrants despite the recent terroristic attack. Merkel can face re-election in September, but many experts believe she’ll be able to return to the office in the new team. The Guardian suggested her coalition with the Greens and the Free Democrats.
Observers just hope Germany will remain stable and won’t repeat the experience of Britain, Poland, Netherlands, France and the US where flood waters of populism have risen.