French news media can vaguely encourage audiences to follow their social media, but they can't say follow me on Twitter or Facebook.
The Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), France's media regulations bureau, imposed a 1992 ban on covert advertising that they are now applying to mention of the social media giants.
Facebook and Twitter are commercial brands like Coca-Cola or L'Oreal or any other. There are many social networking sites on many topics - cooking, animals - why should we mention one and not others, said Christine Kelly, a CSA spokesperson and former journalist at a recent press conference that has French journalists and bloggers up in arms.
The new ban on covert advertising for American social media is expected to give homegrown French alternatives a chance at world domination.
Skyrock is the French Facebook, available in seven languages and four dialects of French.
There are 29 countries in the world where French is the official language, and there are 56 member nations in the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, an association of French-speaking nations.
A ban on what have been some of the most popular words uttered in the French-speaking North African Maghreb during the ongoing Arab Spring may allow France to exploit its social media market potential.