updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri June 3, 2011
References can only be informational
France has reportedly enacted new legislation that aims to ban broadcasters from uttering terms related to popular social networking websites that originated in the US. Television and radio hosts are no longer allowed to say the words "Twitter" or "Facebook" during broadcasts, unless the references are necessary to convey information directly related to a news story.
Blogger Matthew Fraser points out that Twitter and Facebook are popular ways for many French TV and radio stations to establish deeper connections with listeners and viewers, similar the the marketing strategies common in the US.
"French regulators, needless to say, were armed with a rationale for their meddling," Fraser writes. "The CSA maintained that any on-air mention of a programme’s Facebook page or Twitter feed constitutes ”clandestine advertising” for these social networks because they are commercial operations."
A spokesperson for the CSA, Christine Kelly, further argued that such references show a preference for the two social networks. "Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars," she asks.
"But there is another, more plausible, explanation," Fraser opines. "Facebook and Twitter are, of course, American social networks. In France, they are regarded — at least implicitly — as symbols of Anglo-Saxon global dominance — along with Apple, MTV, McDonald’s, Hollywood, Disneyland, and other cultural juggernauts."