Sunday, June 12, 2011

Facebook and the French Resistance

Matthew Fraser, a Paris-based journalist and professor at the American University of Paris and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, looks at Facebook has made inroads everywhere.
When Facebook and Twitter first surfaced several years ago, the French showed relatively little interest in these online networks. A French alternative to Facebook, called Skyrock, was more popular. But Facebook’s global success was unstoppable. Today, it has three times more members than Skyrock in France.

If Skyrock were still the biggest online social network in France, however, it’s a good bet that regulators would not have banned its mention on TV and radio shows. French national pride would take precedence over strict application of laws. The Minitel, in its day, was not banned from promoting commercial services. Officious micro-regulations are reserved for foreign -- and, in particular, American -- services and technologies.

Can we say this is an example of overt anti-Americanism? Probably not. But it is not entirely irrelevant to situate this latest French obstacle to American technological and cultural influence within the longstanding animosity between France and the U.S. in these spheres. (Read entire article.)

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