Oh, France. France is always the first in line to hate on something; then, in turn, the rest of us then hate on France for being so judgmental and so, well, French. Yet for every Jerry Lewis they love there is the occasional stroke of genius in their thinking (like their blunt distaste for George Bush and the Iraq war). So we wondered: Are the French right about social media?
Yesterday news blogs were abuzz with word that everybody’s favorite snooty country has now banned journalists from ending their news programs with a reference to their personal social networking sites. Moreover, unless Twitter or Facebook are actually making news, neither site will be mentioned on French television. Spokeswoman for the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, France’s government broadcast authority, Christine Kelly told The Guardian “Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are other social networks that are struggling for recognition. 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?’”
Instead, French television reporters will now close their broadcasts by saying “retrouvez-nous sur les réseaux sociaux” or “find us on social networks.” This ban is considered to be the first of many in the socialist country’s attempt to control social media and the Internet. While the ban is distinctly French in its dismissive qualities, it does open a hotbed of questions about the relevance of journalists and self-promotion through social media. But surely such a ban won’t change the rest of the planet’s obsession with melting social media and news together in one gooey and complicated information sandwich, right? By constantly pimping Facebook and Twitter on television, does that crush our usage of other social networks?
Either way you slice it, our questions regarding the boundaries of social media and journalism are just beginning to deepen and expand. But let’s hear from you Brandsplatters. Is France right about this one? Let us know in the comments section below!