A new French law forbids domestic TV and radio broadcasters from using the names of the two American social media giants in an attempt to prevent 'clandestine advertising.' But media experts and commentators call the ban 'chauvinist,' 'out of touch,' and 'stupid.'
PHOTO: Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff, ILLUSTRATION: Jacob Turcotte/Staff
The ban announced by France’s audiovisual authority aims to stop “clandestine advertising” of the two American social media giants, and is the latest in a long history of attempts to regulate images and words ranging from “e-mail” to Coke in La Republique.
Yet initial reaction from French bloggers and reporters shows scant love or respect for official efforts to excise Facebook and Twitter – words that for better or worse have become common currency here.
“Tweeter” (meaning "to tweet"), for example, is now a verb entered into Robert’s French dictionary as a new word last year. Various meetings and social gatherings in France are carried off as “Facebook events.”
“This decision is not only stupid and hypocritical, it is also scary because behind the legal alibi, it reeks of anti-Americanism, chauvinism, and a complete misunderstanding of today's world,” says Karim Emile Bitar, a frequent commentator on French affairs at a Paris think tank.