Proving once again that moralistic liberals are exactly as annoying as moralistic conservatives, the French government has banned the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” from radio and television, unless either company is the focus of a story. This essentially means that news organizations can no longer say things like “Find us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter.” According to the Guardian, the French government’s broadcasting authority felt that doing so served as stealth promotion for the two social networking sites, which was unfair all the other social networking sites that no one has ever heard of because everyone already uses Facebook or Twitter.
Now, before you start screaming “Down With Socialism!” and stuffing your mouth full of freedom fries, it’s worth pointing out that the French government might have a point. Social networks, confusingly, are simultaneously public spaces and private corporations — no one pays to join them, but they can nevertheless reap mega-billions in profits. Even if you ascribe to a theory of pure winner-takes-all capitalism, it’s worth asking yourself: Should social networks get a free pass because they’re an entirely new form of corporation, or are we unwittingly walking into a new era of corporate monopolies? After all, doesn’t it seem a bit bizarre that major internet companies with serious financial backing can nevertheless earn scads of free advertising from media companies desperate to engage with their readers?
Wow, who knew that French people could force you to ask so many deep questions about life? You should decompress a little bit, and then, once you’re ready, why don’t we move this conversation to Twitter?