The Elysée confirmed the president’s number was made public “a dozen or so days ago” following which he received texts, which were “not always flattering”, according to reports in the French media.
The president, whose popularity rating has nosedived in recent weeks, also received a few late night phone calls, according to French news site Challenges, which revealed the story.
Challenges quoted one French minister who was humoured by what had happened and relieved that Macron was, for a while at least, unable to contact him in the middle of the night after being forced to change his number.
The source of the leak online was not a hack, as some might have expected. Instead, it came from the stolen phone of a journalist who had one of Macron’s numbers saved in their contacts book, from when the president was a former minister under François Hollande.
The Elysée palace insisted there had been no breach of security as the phone was used by the president for personal rather than professional reasons.
Macron’s team confirmed the president actually has two mobile phones, as shown in an official portrait (see below), and hardly used the phone number that was shared online.
Aside from his two mobiles, “the head of state also has an encrypted phone and secured telecommunication lines,” the Elysée added.