France has stopped news anchors on radio and television uttering the words ‘Facebook’ and ’Twitter’ while broadcasting. The names of the social media sites are not permitted to be used on air unless as part of a news story. The ban has been put in force as a result of a 1992 decree which prevents preferential advertising. Mentioning the sites by name on air is deemed to be advertising which is unfair to other, smaller social networking sites.
A spokesperson for Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, established by the President of the French Republic in 1989 said:
“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition.”
Christine Kelly went on to state that it would be distorting competition, giving an unfair advantage to Facebook and Twitter. Smaller social networking sites would expect the same media exposure. Critics of the decision point out that rather than a news anchor directing their audience to their Facebook or Twitter page, they will now direct them to social networking sites or community pages so viewers can find them.
Competition between social networking sites has increased, with a large number of companies using the sites as part of their SEO campaign. The social media sites are powerful tools to be used by companies in their search engine optimisation strategy, increasing public awareness of their brand. Any businesses who have connections in France may wish to make alterations to their SEO campaign, following the recent announcement.
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