A student has bought the domain name for the far-right news website Breitbart News in France to prevent the website from launching in the country ahead of the presidential elections.
The website, which was edited by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon before he became involved in Donald Trump's presidential campaign, is considered the voice of the so-called alt-right, a far-right movement promoting white nationalist ideas.
The 22-year-old, known as Antonin, spoke to the website The Verge about his decision: "When I saw that they wanted to launch in France I was really afraid, because I thought it could work really well in France," he said.
After checking that the domain name was still available, he bought breitbart.fr and two related URLs: breitbartnews.fr and breitbartnewsnetwork.fr. "It's weird that they didn't buy it," he told The Verge.
Antonin is now planning to use the website to promote organisations fighting against racism and anti-semitism but has no intention of reselling the domain names even if made a good offer.
Bannon declared in an interview to Radio Londres last summer he wanted to launch the website in France before the April-May election. Breitbart already has dedicated sections of its website reporting news from its bureaus in London and Jerusalem. The website also has a bureau in Rome, mostly covering news about the Vatican.
According to The Economist, the website was also eyeing expansion in Germany, where elections are due in the autumn to capitalise on the popularity of anti-establishment and populist parties. In France, the far right Front National party is currently leading the polls in the first round of the presidential election, although analysts predict party leader Marine Le Pen would be defeated in the run-off.
Should the news outlet decide to launch in Germany, it may face similar issues around its URL, as the breitbart.de domain is already taken, and the breitbartnews.de redirects to the Facebook page of a satirical website targeting far-right parties.
A spokesperson for Breitbart told The Verge there is "nothing to report yet", but was advised to "check back with us in a couple months". Although there was no comment over the use of domain names for expansion outside the US, the website currently uses its own .com domain in its reporting from the UK and Israel.