Twitter and Facebook Banned on French TV

June 6th, 2011

In the latest attempt to promote “fairness” among his people, French president Nicholas Sarkozy banned news stations from using the words “Twitter” and “Facebook” from their broadcasts. Under the rule, the two widely used social networking sites would fall under the jurisdiction of a 1992 law preventing commercial businesses from being promoted on newscasts. Instead, news programs and anchors will only be allowed to refer to the two sites as “popular social networking sites” when they want their listening and viewing audiences to follow them online. This goes in contrast to most other European countries who actively push Twitter and Facebook links as a way to generate a following beyond the cameras and microphones.

This measure was backed by Christine Kelly of the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), the government’s media supervising body, claiming that allowing Twitter and Facebook to be mentioned would be unfair to the “many other social networks struggling for recognition”. Ms. Kelly seems to not be able to recall a time when everybody was hopping on Myspace, the social networking giant that has been all but left for dead by Facebook and Twitter, which have now become essentials for people in the media industry wanting to stay in touch with fans.

The CSA’s main priority is to regulate fairness in media, especially with regards to face time for political aspirants. Since it’s an arm of the Sarkozy administration, a man who is in favor of regulating the internet and who is leading the way for there to be international regulations on internet activity, it can effectively used to limit the influence of challengers to his hold on power ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, where Sarkozy is potentially vulnerable. As for the “struggling” social network sites, they’re not getting any help from this ruling either. They don’t get promoted either, which helps ensure Facebook and Twitter’s internet dominance, something that the CSA doesn’t want, but is inadvertently help promote.

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