France Bans Facebook, Twitter Promos on TV; How Would This Play in the U.S.?


It's abundantly clear that the French see things differently than Americans do. Matters of the heart, religion, politics—you name it—the French seem to come up with views that sometimes confound those in the U.S.--and vice versa, of course.

A May 27 decision by the French government's Superior Audiovisual Council, or CSA, does nothing to dispel this belief. The CSA ruled that Facebook or Twitter could be cited by broadcasters only when a program or report merits a specific reference about those sites. Meaning, a commentator can't say "Follow us on Facebook" and/or flash the Facebook or Twitter logo up on the screen, as just about every U.S.-based news organization does.

In France, this practice falls under "secret advertising." Giving Facebook or Twitter a specific plug is a no-no, but saying "Access us on social media" is okay. When bloggers got wind of this ruling, they were quick to blast it, with many accusing the French government of being too rigid in its Internet edicts. As reported by AP, one French blogger who used to advise President Nicolas Sarkozy on Internet policy tweeted: "French regulation forbids TV networks to say Facebook or Twitter? My Country is screwed."

In the U.S., a ruling such as this would probably provoke a nasty fight. The networks would feel "screwed" in not having the opportunity to build up awareness and audiences on specific social media platforms. Over here, "Catch us on social media" just wouldn't cut it.


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