Posted June 7, 2011 7:22 am by with 2 comments

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In one of the most laughable cases of ‘government gone wild’ ever, France has made it illegal for broadcasters to mention the words Twitter or Facebook in broadcasts (other than if it’s actually a part of the story they are covering). While I usually don’t look to the French for something that makes sense, this maneuver is as bold as it is silly.

Time’s NewsFeed tells us

Radio and television anchors in France are no longer allowed to use the names of the social networking sites promotionally in their broadcasts.

The script has become cliché – the phrase that begins “Social networking sites like…” is almost always followed by the words “Facebook and Twitter.” But as of May 27th, the French are turning up their noses at the mention of those names on TV.

C’est impossible, you say? But the French cite a 1992 law on the books that bans the promotion of business enterprises on network television programs. And a mere mention of “follow us on Twitter” or “check out our Facebook page,” in the eyes of the French government, represents subliminal advertising and promotion of those platforms.

I’m not even sure what you say to an action such as this. I just hope that no one else follows their lead and does something as patently ridiculous. Even if it is ‘promotion’ of the services what is being accomplished by such a move? Essentially you are saying to people that in fairness to all you can mention no one. Brilliant!

A spokesperson for the regulatory group was required to remain straight faced when delivering this beauty.

The group’s spokeswoman Christine Kelly says, “Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition.”

Wow. Would you like a little cheese with that whine? In the US we have our own stupid rules like “too big to fail” but a business being “too big to mention”? I guess the French see value in looking like they are protecting the little guy but this is just plain laughable.

What do you think? Should your country ban the ‘promotion’ of such sites and in effect attempt to limit how information is passed along in an increasingly digital world? At what point does ‘protecting’ someone or some entity get in the way of conducting life in a reasonable manner? Does this type of government involvement in the era of the Internet bode well for the online space?

Would love to get your thoughts on this one.

  • I found this weird although I get the point of banning Facebook and Twitter for broadcasters. But we just have to face the truth that both of these sites are widely used in all forms of media.

  • Jimm Crouse

    Boy, I could see this type of censorship being taken to the extreme!
    Soon they would have to blur out the background advertisements on
    stores and billboards in news stories, blur out the brand plates on
    all autos, trucks, boats & planes…and forget mentioning that IBM or
    Apple has introduced or developed some new technology, or that
    some pharmaceutical company has found a cure for cancer!! And what do they do when such & such bank or store is robbed? Just report that “A bank” was robbed?? How bizarre!!