France Bans Use of the Words “Twitter” and “Facebook” From TV Outside of News Stories

June 4th, 2011

No, not a joke. From HuffPo:

France has banned the names of both social networking sites from being spoken on radio or television, unless they are part of a news story.

The reason for the ban goes back to a 1992 decreethat says mentioning such services by name is an act of advertising. Therefore, using the terms “Twitter” and “Facebook” constitutes preferential treatment.

Christine Kelly, a spokesperson for France’s Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), explained the ban.

“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition,” she toldL’Express. “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?'”

Now ask yourself, would this be constitutional in America under commercial speech doctrines?