TV regulators in France ban some uses of words "Facebook" and "Twitter"

You see these kinds of phrases all the time on TV shows. A news commentator might ask you to "like our station on Facebook". A celebrity might say on the radio that fans can follow him or her on their Twitter page. But that kind of language is now illegal to use in the country of France. The web site This Much I Know reports that TV and radio regulators in France have now banned the use of the words "Facebook" and "Twitter" on those media outlets except when news stories report specifically on the social networking companies and their services.

Why has the French government taken such an action? Because regulators say that when someone says to "follow me on Twitter" on a TV show or on the radio it's unfair to all the other social networking businesses. The story quotes Christine Kelly, a spokesperson for the French regulator CSA as saying, "Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?" She added, "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 story speculates that the real reason for such a wacky regulation is that the group doesn't want to give two US based companies a lot of air time over French broadcasts. In any case, this kind of ruling shows that free speech is interpreted in many different ways in different countries.

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