A 1992 French law that prohibits shilling for commercial firms during newscasts has been officially interpreted to mean that newsreaders can no longer mention Facebook or Twitter, unless the story is about Facebook or Twitter -- that is, "Follow us on Twitter" is off-limits.
This means French news organizations are not allowed to urge their audience to "follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/emilprotalinski or "check out my Facebook page at facebook.com/emil.protalinski." Instead, they will have to say "find us on social networking websites" or tell viewers to "check out our webpage at this URL to find links to our pages on social networks."
The French TV regulatory agency Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) insists the French government is simply upholding its laws. "Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?" a CSA spokesperson said in a statement. "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?'"
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