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France Bans Facebook and Twitter From Radio and TV 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-ban-it-from-the-web-too-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In France, radio and television news anchors are no longer allowed to say the words 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' on air, unless the terms are specifically part of a news story. The ban stems from a decree issued by the French government on March 27, 1992, which forbids the promotion of commercial enterprises on news programs."
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France Bans Facebook and Twitter From Radio and TV

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  • Unless (Score:5, Funny)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @01:30AM (#36340626) Homepage

    "unless the terms are specifically part of a news story"

    Well that hardly ever happens.

    • Re:Unless (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tasha26 (1613349) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:28AM (#36340808) Homepage
      You seem to be forgetting presenters who re-direct viewers to their twitter or facebook page and/or ask them add their views to an ongoing discussion of some topic posted/tweeted on those sites. Frankly, I think it's a good move. Why should Facebook and Twitter get free advertising and becomes more popular than they already are? It's hindering emergence of other sites... hmm, non-US sites. :)
    • Re:Unless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RonnyJ (651856) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @03:09AM (#36340926)
      That bit should be part of the headline. Terrible editing.

      France Bans Facebook and Twitter From Radio and TV News

      • by RonnyJ (651856)
        Or, better yet: France Bans Facebook and Twitter Promotion in Radio and TV News
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        It surprises me that they use Twitter at all. The BBC has hashtags for most of its popular shows, but when you actually read what people post it is at least 75% inane, libellous or obscene. I tried it watching Question Time (political QA session with questions from an audience) the other day and there was a steady stream of profanity and "tits or GTFO" posts. Back when it started the BBC used to ask people not to swear, but they stopped when it became obvious that whenever they did the response was invariab

    • "unless the terms are specifically part of a news story"

      And what else do they present other than news? Who do they think they are, slashdot?

  • Imagine... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 05, 2011 @01:30AM (#36340630)

    Imagine something similar:
    Visit us at www.texaco.com/abcnews for more information.

  • ...that Twitter and Facebook have more influence on global culture than it does.
  • by Sparx139 (1460489) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @01:33AM (#36340648)
    This isn't limiting freedom of speech. Granted it sucks (I know in Australia we've had all kinds of stupid/funny "if we get x followers on twitter we'll do y" things on breakfast shows that this sort of thing would stomp on were it here), but it doesn't have anything to do with civil rights.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sco08y (615665)

      This isn't limiting freedom of speech. Granted it sucks (I know in Australia we've had all kinds of stupid/funny "if we get x followers on twitter we'll do y" things on breakfast shows that this sort of thing would stomp on were it here), but it doesn't have anything to do with civil rights.

      How do you figure it's not limiting freedom of speech or, at least, freedom of the press?

      It might be acceptable or justified based on whatever doctrine you're working from. But if you can't say X, Y or Z, it's a limitation, any way you slice it.

      Generally, if you have to say something or can't say something, it impacts your freedom, but more importantly implements a level of control on you. And, generally, if someone went to the trouble of lobbying the government to control your speech, it will definitely so

    • Breakfast shows aren't news.
      • by Sparx139 (1460489)
        Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about the law in France

        Yes, but where is the line drawn at? If they include the headlines along with the various gimmics, could they be seen as news shows? Sure they're trashy, almost as much as our current [yahoo.com] affairs [ninemsn.com.au] shows (Non-Aussie's: these two shows are tabloid crap, flitting from moral outrage to shameless advertisement in the space of a few seconds [youtube.com]). But I doubt that a sense of taste comes into legalities
    • by Alarash (746254)
      They passed this law because it was unfair competition against other social websites. They wanted to ban the use of the "And find out more about our show on our Facebook page!" at the end of every TV show or whatnot. Now they'll have to say "And find out more about our show on the social websites!" I think it's actually a good thing and make people more aware that FB and Twitter are not the only websites on earth.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Product placement is not allowed in state channels, commercial websites are just that, products.

    • by sco08y (615665) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:22AM (#36340788)

      Product placement is not allowed in state channels, commercial websites are just that, products.

      And in Europe, it's taken for granted that this is a reasonable restriction and that the idea of state channels is reasonable.

      Most Americans (and probably a lot of Euros) don't grasp that European leftism != American leftism and European rightism != American rightism. There are strong parallels in abstract, but as you cross the pond you see a fundamental change in the cultural gestalt of the relationship between the state and the individual.

      • by houghi (78078)

        I would say that European rightism = American leftism. And there would still be place between the two.

        Obviously talking about major parties, not minority groups or individuals.

        • You just can't treat Europe as a single country, each country has a different idea of what 'right' and 'left' means.

          Not to mention that there's different kinds of 'right'; some are more economically liberal (privatizations, etc), while others are more conservative.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        On the really broad lines my impression is that the US leaves it to the "invisible hand" of the market to fix everything. In most of Europe we'll employ any regulation we like as long as we treat all competitors equally. The free market is in the sandbox with the rules and limitations we choose, if say we want to clearly separate news from ads we just make a rule saying that you must, even if the "free market" would like to offer you a slush taking great kickbacks on their promotion. Rather than trust a mar

    • Telling viewers to hit your facebook page or follow your twitter account is product placement? The product here belongs to the news program.

  • FFS (Score:2, Funny)

    by gmhowell (26755)

    Can we PLEASE go in on the side of the Germans next time?

    • by houghi (78078)

      I say the same thing and I am European. Would have prevented all the wining Americans about how they saved us from speaking German.

      (Karma to burn)

  • No more follow/like us on twitter or facebook interrupting something generally more interesting.

    Seriously the PR departments must be really under pressure to appeal to the new generation, without fully understanding it, to think that we would rather follow them using a facebook or twitter interface rather than there generally well done actual website.

    • by sincewhen (640526)

      It also seems to be strange that they would be saying "Stop watching TV and use the internet".

  • by PyroMosh (287149) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @01:58AM (#36340734) Homepage

    On the one hand, the freedom of speech lover in me thinks that this goes to far, as I do with many things the French do...

    On the other hand, I imagine what CNN would be like if they had to report or analyze a story instead of asking what Twitter thinks of a story...

    • by sco08y (615665)

      On the one hand, the freedom of speech lover in me thinks that this goes to far, as I do with many things the French do...

      On the other hand, I imagine what CNN would be like if they had to report or analyze a story instead of asking what Twitter thinks of a story...

      If you are actually interested in news, just watch C-SPAN. Yeah, sometimes it's dry as hell and the callers are often painful, but it actually does a really good job of presenting both sides, and there are no ads. Bottom line: "I heard Rep X say this on the House floor and then Rep Y said this" wins a lot more arguments than "I heard talking heads X and Y scoring points on CNN."

      If you're in the DC area, 90.1 FM is C-SPAN radio, and they have XM, webcasting, etc. If you're up late, they play historic Supreme

  • brand names (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dotsandlines (2021270) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:19AM (#36340772)
    Not that I agree with the French policy (or RTFS), but it's recently bothered me (in a very slight way) that we now have forms of communication that can only be referred to through the brand name. We could chat, text, fax, phone and blog without referring to a company name, but Tweets and Facebook posts seem harder to generalize. Just saying something's been "posted online" seems too vague. The proper generic verb hasn't been invented yet.
    • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @03:02AM (#36340906)
      Sure it has: the proper generic term is GARBAGE. Really, when did ill-considered soundbites from anonymous children ever become news?
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        from anonymous children

        Three words that show you just don't get it.

        Twitter and Facebook have a large number of anonymous children. They also have a large following of corporate PR, legitimate news announcers, and non-anonymous important dudes (in someone's view). The fact that some news is broken FIRST on twitter and Facebook and the fact that news articles mention it at all is a clear indication of its perceived importance and relevant in the modern world.

    • by jeti (105266)

      If the term has become generic, the venture loses its trademark. Problem mostly solved.

    • by matunos (1587263)

      You can blog about something without implying you're using a particular company's service. You can't follow someone on Twitter without using Twitter. You can't 'like' someone in Facebook without going through Facebook. These forms of communication can only be referred to through the brand names, because only the brand names provide them.

      (But there are generic names... microblogging and friending/networking/liking/following, depending on what you're doing. We just don't tend to use them because microbloggi

    • by dolmen.fr (583400)

      There is no generic word, because those communication media are not generic: those are not open communication protocol, instead they are linked to closed platforms. Closed because they totally control your access to your own communications and they can filter as they want.

      Some other threads said that forbidding to talk freely about those private networks was against free speech. But I don't see how advertising closed platform that can totally control speech is an advancement.

    • I believe the proper terms have already been invented. Twitter is a blog which only accepts a terribly limited amount of text. Therefore, if "blogging" is seen as a verb then it also covers message posted to twitter. If that fails then there is also micro-blogging. Even if some people don't believe that that is good enough then I don't see how it is impossible to say "he/she stated that..." or even "he/she stated in a website that..." instead of "he/she tweeted...".

      Regarding facebook, it is nothing but

  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radio4fan (304271) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:27AM (#36340806)

    Any objective person can see that saying "Follow us on twitter!" is an endorsement of a commercial service, and it's not legal in France to pepper news programs with adverts like this.

    The blogtards and upcoming posters who say "Stupid bans like these don't work" and "Next they will be after McDonalds and Disney" are either missing the point due to a lack of thought, or don't care about the point and just like to criticize France anyway.

    Personally, I'm amazed that CSA have finally pulled their finger out and have reminded the broadcasters of their responsibilities.

    • by matunos (1587263)
      Wouldn't the news show having a presence on Twitter/Facebook be an endorsement? Indicating that they have said presence isn't so much an endorsement as a statement of fact. Can they mention their website? Is that an implicit endorsement of their web hosting company? The internet providers you might use to reach their site? The companies who manufacture the ethernet and/or wifi devices you might use to access them? Are they endorsing France Télécom when they give out their phone number?
      • by radio4fan (304271)

        All of your points are specious.

        Which of your questions encourage viewers to become customers of a particular commercial service? Not one.

        If you really think that saying "Check out our website!" is a clandestine advert for a web host/ISP/wifi chipset manufacturer then you must be seriously hard of thinking.

        Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

  • Then Twitter and Facebook will have to do what American companies have done for years. Buy sports stadiums. Then every time a game is played there, their name is mentioned during the sports replays.
  • by JinjaontheNile (2217694) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @02:43AM (#36340848)
    It is becoming obligatory that half the news stories have half arsed irrelevant comments from Facebook or Twitter Unfortunately I suspect our journalists will find a way around minor obstructions like the French promotion laws.
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @03:46AM (#36341036)

    I'm tired of the 'news' stories pointing out what X said on twitter, and what pictures Y put on facebook related to the news in question.

    I for one hope more people adopt it.

  • by Trigger31415 (1912176) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @03:52AM (#36341056)
    Some examples : -Logos of trademarks that appear in music clip (and the rest) must be blurred. -A video announcer cannot promote his own book (example: this can't happen Glen Beck [youtube.com]. Oh, and btw, his analysis of the French riots of 2005 is completely false, ofc. Hello FUD). -Trailers of films cannot be broadcast on TV as ads (only during emission about cinema) Generally speaking this comes from the same law: "No Hidden advertising" You have other reglementations, like 'in average, 6min of ads / hr max', and 'no too noisy ads' (wasn't that a recent proposition from Obama?). More recently, it was decided to stop broadcasting of all advertising on gvt-owned TV channels, which usually account for more than 50% of hearing. Whether you like or not those laws, comparing them to the Freedom Fries stuff is stupid, and shows that the author ignores French culture...
  • Before social network deniers are celebrating and saying "We don't need people to be dependent to this shit!", sorry guys, they already are. People are using Tweets for news what have happened *right* now. People are using this short form to communicate more effectively than any public radio/television have ever done. Denying these additional ways of communication between public press and people is stupid and back-crawling. Also there is quite fine line between endorsement/advertisment and just mentioning a

    • by jovius (974690)

      Facebook and Twitter etc can easily be called together as social media, which is part of the news making and gathering today. Actually media today is social as a whole, and there are many means to be in contact in real time. This ban is about commercialisation of the news and not about the contact details given later on the stream.

      I think the move is justified and you missed the point.

  • What we really need are decentralised systems, as we already have for email and to a lesser extent IM with jabber...

    While it's almost certainly against the rules to talk about gmail because thats promoting google's business, to talk about the general concept of email is just fine because its an open standard that covers thousands of different providers.

    So, have a decentralised equivalent of facebook and twitter, then everyone else would be far better off... No single point of failure, no single company havi

    • by matunos (1587263)

      While it's almost certainly against the rules to talk about gmail because thats promoting google's business, to talk about the general concept of email is just fine because its an open standard that covers thousands of different providers.

      Try telling that to people who use Outlook.

  • ...I wouldn't mind if "newsmen" would stop reading random goddamned tweets on the air as if they're somehow interesting or relevant. If a tweet doesn't have a congressman's penis allegedly contained within, it doesn't belong on your news show.
  • Good.

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