This article was published on June 3, 2011

The words “Facebook” and “Twitter” have been banned from French TV

The words “Facebook” and “Twitter” have been banned from French TV

Here’s an interesting little bit of news for you. We’ve learnt that regulators in France have banned the words ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ from use on TV and radio.

Some people might say that the French have acquired an unfair reputation for being obsessed with frustratingly pedantic rules and regulations, but this latest ruling would suggest that reputations are sometimes earned.

French broadcasting regulators have issued the following ruling: TV and radio show hosts must refrain from uttering ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ unless it’s in direct relation to a specific news story on the subject.

So, for example, a French TV presenter is barred from saying something like: “Follow us on Twitter for more updates on this story”. No reference must ever be made to connecting to Facebook or Twitter to discover further information on a news story.

And why would French regulators wish to impose such a ban? Well, it seems that mentioning Facebook or Twitter is deemed to be promoting commercial enterprises, according to French broadcast regulator CSA.

CSA spokesperson Christine Kelly said that clandestine advertising aside, any reference to Facebook or Twitter shows preference for those two social networks, to the exclusion of others.

“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition. This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?”

This is a strange one indeed. It’s unlikely that anyone will take to the streets in protest over this move, but to completely ignore two of the most popular social networking platforms on the planet seems unnecessary at best, and a little draconian at worst.

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