Sunday, June 05, 2011

France restricts mentions of Twitter and Facebook on the airwaves

French regulators have forbidden broadcasters to direct their audiences to Twitter or Facebook
the Global Post quoted CBS News as reporting (merci à — may I mention his name?! — Duncan).
According to a ruling this week, French radio and television broadcasters aren't allowed to mention either of the big social networks on the air unless they are covering a story about the specific network, Atlantic Wire said.

As a Business Insider article explained, citing expat blogger Matthew Fraser, if Facebook or Twitter make the news, they can be mentioned on a strictly “information” basis. But broadcasters are not allowed to urge their audiences to connect via Facebook or Twitter to learn more, ask questions, give their opinions, and all the rest of the things that broadcasters and media outlets do with social networking.

Those wacky French, you might say. What were they thinking? Well, the reasoning goes like this: citing a 1992 law that prohibits surreptitious advertising, the ruling is meant to keep networks from giving an unfair advantage to the two already very popular services, Atlantic Wire said. …

Fraser has a possible explanation for the baffling move:

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. That there is a deeply-rooted animosity in the French psyche towards Anglo-Saxon cultural domination cannot be disputed; indeed, it has been documented and analyzed for decades.

All of this is reminiscent of another august French body, the Academie Francaise, and its decidedly interesting rules that are meant to protect the French language. …