You Can't Say 'Facebook' or 'Twitter' on French TV

France regulator says it amounts to free advertising
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2011 6:39 PM CDT
Words 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' Can't Be Used on French TV or Radio
The Facebook logo. The word is no longer OK for French broadcasters.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, file)

Weird rule of the week: It is now against the law in France for broadcasters on TV or radio to mention "Facebook" or "Twitter" on the air, notes the This I Know blog. To be precise, they can mention them if they're doing news stories, and Facebook or Twitter are relevant to them. But they can't say things like, "Find us on Facebook" or "Follow us on Twitter." The nation's broadcast regulator views it as free advertising that is unfair to other social networks trying to compete.

"No, this is not a joke," writes an incredulous Matthew Fraser, who suspects this "regulatory lunacy" has more to do with the French chafing at yet another example of "Anglo-Saxon cultural domination" than with advertising fairness. Just imagine trying to watch, say, CNN with such a rule in place, adds Jennifer Moire at AllFacebook. "Social networking channels have become so integrated into network news programming that it’s fair to wonder whether the quality of news would suffer without them." (More Facebook stories.)

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