It can’t get much more ironic than this: France is trying to stop a revolution.
The Facebook and Twitter revolution to be precise.
Government officials have reportedly told French television and radio news hosts not to use the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” on-air, unless those words refer to the specific companies in news stories.
While the French officials likely won’t lose any sleep over cutting down on the use of a pair of English words, protecting French culture is not the rationale behind the move. Instead, officials say that repeatedly using the words in place of more generic terms gives an unfair competitive advantage to the social media giants.
“Why give preferences to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?” Christine Kelly, a spokesman for the French agency that regulates electronic media, told the Daily Mail.
The decision was based on a 1992 decree that forbids promotion of commercial enterprises on French news programs. What does that mean for broadcasters? No more of the seemingly omnipresent phrases like “Follow us on Twitter” or “Friend us on Facebook.” (Or, to be more accurate, their French equivalents.) Instead, French news anchors will have to offer something along the lines of “check for social networking updates” or a phrase that is similarly generic.