France Bans Mention of Facebook and Twitter

France has finally gotten around to banning the something truly offensive to its populace. No longer will French television and radio broadcasters be allowed to mention the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” on air.
In a move based on legislation  from 1992 that decrees mentioning services by name is a form of advertising, use of the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” will not be allowed on French radio or television, unless part of a news story. France’s Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) says the reason for the ban is to avoid giving the American social networking giants an edge over smaller sites.

Though the move does not restrict use of the Facebook and Twitter sites in any way, critics of the legislation argue that banning mention of Facebook and Twitter will confuse the public. “Like us on our social networking site” just doesn’t have the same clarity as “Like us on Facebook.”


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The real problem is lazy journalism. Time was a journalist would do some research for a story. These days journalists (esp. at the BBC) think it's enough to cite Twitter or Facebook sources as being all that matters, either in terms of fact or as public opinion. The other problem is the promotion of Facebook and particularly Twitter as a political force.

I get so tired of reading that something has happened purely as the result of a campaign on Twitter or Facebook. You know the sort of thing according to the media some major political or legal decision has happened simply because a few hundred people made a noise about it on Twitter. Of course the news media never ever mention the thousands of similar campaigns every year that fail. The fact that many more of these campaigns fail than succeed seems to show that on balance they are largely pointless. And that's before you take into account that things that happen after supposedly successful campains would probably happened without Facebook and/or Twitter.

Journalists like Facebook and particularly Twitter because they get to do less work that way - so they promote the two sites as major tools for social change in order to support their continued reliance on these services.
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The problem isn't the english language, nor is it technophobia, or even (as the Huff-post article suggests) the French hating anglo-saxon culture. The problem is advertising.

Facebook and Twitter are brand names, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. are profit-making organizations. The 1992 decree bans "clandestine advertising", which is defined as "verbal or visual presentation of the merchandise, the services, the name, the brand or the activities of a producer or service provider, when this presentation is made with a purpose of publicity" (my translation from

What's debatable is the purpose, to me citing your facebook page is more an ad for yourself than for facebook, but I can see their point.
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Our current gov' is pretty pro-american and pro-anglo in general. In fact, it's more technophobia than a problem with the language.
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