French broadcasters not allowed to say ‘Twitter’

How do you say “Facebook” or “Twitter” in French? If you’re a broadcast journalist in the country, apparently you just don’t.

Broadcast journalists in France are no longer allowed to mention specific social media companies, unless they are an integral part of the story. This means they can’t tell viewers to follow them on Twitter or visit their Facebook pages, The Age reported Friday.

Le Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, which regulates the French broadcast industry, announced the rule May 27, saying it is part of a ban that has been in place since 1992. The ban does not allow for promotion of commercial enterprises on television and radio.

Now, if broadcast journalists want people to visit their feeds and pages, they can mention social media as a generic term, but not specific sites. How broadcasters will send viewers to their Twitter feeds or Facebook pages without actually mentioning the names of the platforms was not addressed.

The CSA explained the rule in a statement, according to Business Insider:

“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition. This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘Why not us?’”

The rule’s passing wasn’t noticed at first, but then French bloggers began pointing out that mentioning where to find someone on Facebook and Twitter – both commuication platforms – isn’t the same as advertising for a brand, such as mentioning which type of shampoo they use, The Atlantic Wire noted.

Benoît Raphaël, former regional daily press executive and editor-in-chief and co-founder of, wrote that the CSA apparently does not understand how social media functions:

“Above all, the CSA did not understand that, before being registered, Twitter and Facebook are public spaces where more than 25% of the French population discuss and exchange information. What is said of Facebook, a real social ecosystem, it replaces the Internet. When Nicolas Sarkozy meets Mark Zuckerberg on the sidelines of the eG8, he is received almost like a head of state: a community of 600 million Internet users, larger than the population of the United States of America. In short, the world has changed.”

Image: Business Insider

This entry was posted in broadcasting, Facebook, Journalism, Social media, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

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