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Facebook [and Twitter] and the French Resistance
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There is something profoundly interesting about the French, so much that if they didn't exist we might have to invent them, just as a proof of concept :-)

Facebook and the French Resistance [nytimes.com]

nytimes.com, unfortunately, has a tendency to lock down their pages, so I reproduce the two pieces here (if they mind they can just give me a call)


--[1]-----------

Here's something you won't hear on French television news today: "For more information on the U.S. trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, follow us on Twitter."

French regulators have banned the words 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' from French TV and radio unless those words are used to refer to the companies themselves in news stories. The regulator, France's Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, says that it is "clandestine" advertising to use the names otherwise, violating a 1992 decree stipulating that commercial enterprises should not be promoted on news programs.

Can the ban be explained on legal grounds alone? What other considerations might be involved in the French action?

--[2]-----------

Still an Asterix Village

Updated June 6, 2011, 10:12 PM
Pierre Haski, a former deputy editor of the daily Libération, is the co-founder and chief executive of the French independent news Web site Rue89.com.

France's broadcasting authority is applying the law by calling on the country's TV and radio broadcasters to stop using the words "Facebook" and "Twitter" on the air unless the news story justifies it. French law bans hidden advertising, and Facebook and Twitter are not (yet) generic names.

But this narrow legalistic approach gives France an Asterix village outlook, as in the popular cartoon when the whole of Gaul was under Roman occupation except for a tiny Breton village still resisting the globalization of the time.

The French bureaucratic and political elite resent the loss of control generated by the use of online social networks.
The sad part to the broadcasting authority's decision is that it reveals that the French bureaucratic and political elite is behind the times in understanding the logic of the Internet and the power of social networking Web sites. This is true, even if President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was more than happy to be photographed with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook at the recent G-8 forum in Paris.

The French elite resent the loss of control generated by the use of online social networks, despite a growing number of politicians and decision-makers coming to realize that if you can't beat them, join them. The disruptive effect of the Web has come as a surprise to the cozy and well-organized relationship within the French establishment, including the news media industry.

The law, the French broadcasting authority is enforcing, is based on old world views, even as competition on the Web has overtaken the traditional ways in which television, radio and print reach their audiences. Instead of adapting the law to a changing reality, regulators have decided to blindly impose their bureaucratic vision.

And while TV and radio broadcasters must comply with the law, the rest of the news media in France are tweeting all the way to the bank.

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