French language For Members

The essential French vocab you need to talk about social media

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
The essential French vocab you need to talk about social media
This illustration picture shows social media applications logos from Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter displayed on a smartphone in 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

Following along a French conversation about social media is challenging, especially when half of the words are 'anglicismes'.


When it comes to talking about social media in French, the lexicon can be a bit confusing for foreigners.

There are new tech-related terms, new verbs created out of internet-specific language, and many young people use English words instead of French alternatives, albeit with a French accent which can make them difficult for anglophones to recognise.

READ MORE: Meet the Frenchman dedicated to protecting his language from English

These are some of the terms you might come across;

To follow 

Most people use the verb suivre, roughly pronounced 'swee-vruh'. This French verb means 'to follow' - you can use it to physically follow someone along the street, but in a social media context, you might use it to say that you 'follow' an account on Instagram or Twitter. 


Confusingly, the 'I' form of suivre is je suis, the same as the 'I' form of the verb être (to be). 

Therefore Je suis journaliste = I am a journalist, but Je suis Emmanuel Macron means 'I follow Emmanuel Macron', not 'I am Emmanuel Macron'. In order to avoid people thinking that you're delusional, it might be better to add Je suis Emmanual Macon sur Instagram, in order to make it clear that you're talking about following him on social media.

When talking about the internet, you might say Je suis beaucoup de comptes de conseils parentaux sur Instagram (I follow a lot of parenting advice accounts on Instagram).

A more formal version - but less frequently used - would be s'abonner. For example - Je suis abonnée à de nombreux influenceurs de mode (I follow a lot of fashion influencers).

Some people do use the English word 'follow' when talking about social media, although it's less common in its verb form. 

Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok

Names of companies remain the same in French so you can safely talk about these, although French people usually have a slightly different pronunciation.

Facebook - Face-buhke

Twitter - twee-ter

Tik Tok - teek-tok

Instagram - ahn-sta-gram. In fact Instagram has become an adjective, so you can describe your dinner as très instagramable - ie it's beautifully presented and would make a nice photo on Instagram.


The exact translate is compte, roughly pronounced 'cohmpte'. This is still widely used amongst French people and, just as in English, is the same word as for an account with a company and a bank account (compte bancaire).



If you are looking to talk about the people who follow your social media account, then you can simply use the English word followers. You would use a French accent and 'R', so it would sound like 'foe-loe-wheres'.

Alternatively, some people might say abonnés (ah-bon-ays) especially if your paid is paid subscriptions only, such as Patreon or OnlyFans.

Most websites have a tab at the top inviting you to 's'abonner' - or subscribe. 


Every few months there is a new challenge on social media, especially video platforms like TikTok.

While you might hear French people use the word 'challenge' (with a French accent), the most common word would be défi (day-fee).

You might recognise this term from the month of January, as Dry January is also referred to in French as the 'défi de janvier'.

To share or post

Luckily, this isn't too tricky. You can stick with the exact French translation, which is partager (par-tah-jay). 

However, if you want to say 'post', a lot of French young people simply turn the English word into a French verb by adding an -ER. For example, il a posté un vidéo (he posted a video).

When discussing individual posts - like a collection of pictures on Instagram - your French friend might say j'ai vu ton post sur Insta (I saw your post on Instagram). Some might say publication which is the more formal, correct option instead, but 'post' is more popular.

To like

Confusingly, French young people seem to avoid the term aimer (to like) when talking about liking a picture or video on social media. 

They tend to stick with the English word like, with a French twist - liker (like-ay) or 'il a trois cent likes' (he has 300 likes).



Perhaps you want to say that you left a comment on your friend's Facebook post. You would use the French word commentaire (koe-mahn-tare)

Here's an example; J'ai laissé un commentaire sur son post Facebook (I left a comment on his Facebook post).

Private Message

People frequently use the abbreviation when discussing private messages. For example, they might say envoie-moi un MP (send me a PM, or private message).

Depending on who you are speaking to, they might say DM (direct message) instead of MP.


If you want to show your French friend the last meme that made you laugh, you can rest assured that the French translation, mème (pronounced mehm), is not too complicated. 

A screenshot or screen grab

There are two options for discussing a photo taken of a computer or phone screen in French. You can opt for the less formal phrase un screen, or you can say capture d'écran, which is the more official translation.

A livestream or a live transmission

This might come up if you are talking to someone who enjoys watching video game players on Twitch. A livestream in French is un stream, pronounced roughly the same way it would be in English though with a French 'R'.

However if you're watching live footage from an event on either a newspaper website or an official social media account such as the presidential Elysée palace, that would usually be described as 'en direct'.


To send a snapchat

Snapchat is a very popular social media in France, especially among adolescents. If you want to say 'to send a snapchat' you can opt for snapper or faire un snap

Sponsored ads

Most of the time, people will refer to ads as les publicités, but occasionally you might hear someone say les OPÉ. These are the sponsored ads that a Youtuber or Influencer might make on behalf of a brand.

Get the reference?

And finally - much of internet culture relies around getting 'the reference', or la ref as it is called in French. If you do not have the necessary pop-culture context - la ref - you might be a bit lost.

Your French friend might say t'as pas la ref? and you can just shake your head non and ask them to explain whatever mème, stream or post people are talking about.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also