Presidential phone-in: Macron flooded with 'unflattering' texts after cell number leaked online
In the current climate of cybersecurity threats, it would be easy to assume that Macron's phone number was made public as the result of a hack.
However, it turns out the leak was made possible after a journalist's phone was stolen, Challenges reported.
French media cited Élysée Palace sources as confirming the telephone number leak “a dozen or so days ago.”
The leak is reported to have served as an open invitation for Macron's critics to tell the leader exactly what they think of him.
The president was inundated with texts which “weren't always flattering,” according to the palace sources, adding that he also received a few late night phone calls.
However, a separate version of how the number came to be revealed emerged from a person who was at a party with the journalist.
The fellow partygoer said the reporter opened Macron's contact screen in order to “show off” about having the president's digits. A photo of the number was then apparently snapped.
“I really thought it was a fake number,” the person who attended the party told RT France, adding that the title of the contact – ‘New Chief’ – made him “laugh.”
But the number didn't seem to be fake at all, with RT France publishing a recording of the phone's voicemail.
“Hello. You are on Emmanuel Macron's mailbox. I am not available now, but you can leave me a message with your contact information and I will call you back as soon as possible. Thank you,” the message states, in a voice that appears to belong to Macron.
The leader has reportedly been forced to change his number following the leak.
Meanwhile, Macron's critics weren't the only ones happy about the leader's number being made public.
Challenges quoted a French minister who appeared humored by what had happened, and who was relieved that he would receive some respite from being contacted in the middle of the night by the president.
The sources in the palace have insisted there was no breach of security involved with the leak, as Macron used the number of personal rather than professional reasons. They also noted that “the head of state also has an encrypted phone and secured telecommunication lines.”
Macron's team also confirmed to the press that the president has two cellphones, and rarely used the number shared online.
The French president's two phones became the brunt of jokes online in June, when a video emerged showing the leader carefully arranging them before they appeared in his official presidential portrait.
Meanwhile, it is perhaps unsurprising that Macron received a barrage of “unflattering” text messages, as the leader's popularity has taken a nosedive in recent weeks.
A YouGov poll commissioned by Huffpost and CNEWS earlier this month found that only 30 percent of those surveyed were content with Macron's performance.