09 Jun

France Bans Social Media Plugging On TV

Posted in News on 09.06.11 by John Meloche

We’ve been spending the week discussing the importance of marketing your company online. We’ve mentioned how a recent conference in Toronto pretty much insisted that companies use their websites along with social media networks to plug their products and services. Not doing so, it is now believed, is simply bad for business.

So how crazy is this? Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that France has officially condemned the plugging of Twitter accounts and Facebook pages on French broadcast airwaves! What appears to be part of the norm, here in Canada – the inclusion of a company’s social networking website address in a TV commercial – is now illegal in France!

According to The Associated Press article, France’s audiovisual authority believes that pushing Twitter and Facebook pages on TV is part of “unfair” advertising. French citizens, however, feel that the country is simply out of touch with the modern-day digital age. One can only wonder how this will impact sales in the country.

As the article reports, “on May 27, the Superior Audiovisual Council, or CSA, said that broadcasters could legally point viewers or listeners to their sites on generic ‘social media’ but they may not cite services like Facebook or Twitter by name.” So is this a personal attack on the world’s most popular social networking websites?

Christine Kelly, a member of the council, insists that it is not. Quite simply, she explains, French broadcasting is different than it is in the United States. Said Kelly: “We are not in the United States where you buy frequencies to get a TV channel and then you do pretty much whatever you want on your channel.”

Kelly is referring to a rule stated in a 1992 decree that eliminates what is considered “secret advertising” on radio and television. This was not even an issue until online bloggers recently took notice of it. Apparently, making specific references to social networking sites in television ads violates the law.

Even though The Associated Press describes the creation of the The CSA in 1989 as a move to ensure “fairness”, many French citizens aren’t so sure their policies are all that fair. One such citizen is blogger, Loic Le Meur who tweeted: “French regulation forbids TV networks to say Facebook or Twitter? My country is screwed.”

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