Always eager to preserve language purity on the airwaves, French television and radio may no longer use the terms Facebook and Twitter on their broadcasts, except in news stories relating specifically to the sites. On the other hand, newscasters may no longer say, “Leave your comments on Facebook,” or “Follow me on Twitter,” and instead must use the more generic, “Check out our social networking sites.”

The reason given for the ban has nothing to do with language purity, though admittedly, Livre du visage or Livre de la face lack a certain je ne sais quoi. The real problem is a 1992 law that prohibits the mention of specific products, since that could be construed as advertising for them.

“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition,” says Christine Kelly, spokeperson for the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, which formulated the new policy.

It could also help local sites, which are struggling to maintain a web presence despite the Facebook/Twitter challenge.

While ranks Facebook as the number two website in France and Twitter comes in at number 13, they do have local competition, including 13-year-old Then again, it only comes in at the number 18 slot. Vive le Facebook libre!

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