Don't say Twitter or Facebook on French TV, radio

In just about every newscast it has become routine to hear anchors and reporters promote their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It’s a way for these news organizations to extend their reach and build their brand across media.

Well, in France it’s no longer legal for broadcasters to promote their social media pages.

The Daily Mail quotes a spokeswoman for France’s television regulatory agency, Christine Kelly, saying preference shouldn’t be given to the two popular social media sites.

“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?” she asked, according to Mail Online.

“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?’”

Journalists will still be allowed to more generally promote their social media accounts, but not specific sites (insert wink from anchor here).

If the name of a social media service is integral to telling a news story then broadcasters can utter the banded Facebook or Twitter.

The removal of promoting these sites is an interpretation of a 1992 law that sought to limit thinly veiled advertising (the link is in French, so if you’re like me it’s not going to help much. However, if you do read French please let us know your interpretation).

Of course, this isn’t product placement. Using social media is an attempt by these journalists to connect to their audiences and spread news and information.

Maybe I’m just an ethnocentric American who thinks the viewers and listeners can decide if their trusted news source promoting Twitter or Facebook is really some evil plot to undermine competition or just a way to reach people where they are and in a way convenient for them.

About Aaron Chimbel

Aaron Chimbel, a five-time Emmy Award winner, is an assistant professor of professional practice at TCU.

Before returning to TCU in 2009, Chimbel worked at WFAA-TV in Dallas, where he won five Emmy Awards and a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He was hired, likely, as the first person at any local television station to produce original video content for the Web. He was the station's "MoJo" or mobile journalist before becoming the station


  1. I think rules like this are kind of ridiculous. Government officials over there in France probabaly spent months drafting and preparing this new law, and the sole purpose is to reduce the “free advertising” for Twitter and Facebook?

    Those brands have moved from being a brand name to being a verb almost (like “Google it” has become).

    Do they prevent anchors from using other such brand names that have become commonplace in language? Off the top of my head I can think of Band-Aids, Xerox, and Kleenex as brands that fit this bill.