By Marcus Leach

The mentioning of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has been banned on French television and radio stations.

To do so would be breaking guidelines on advertising according to the French broadcasting watchdog. The watchdog did go on to say that stations can talk about services without naming them.

"Referring viewers or listeners to the page of the social network without mentioning it has the character of information," In a ruling, published online, the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), said.

"Whereas the referral by naming the social network in question has the character of advertising, contrary to the provisions of Article 9 of the decree of 27 March 1992 forbidding covert advertising."

As with many other countries most French broadcasters use Facebook and Twitter as a means on interacting with their viewers, and it now remains unclear as to how they will direct people to such sites without mentioning them.

The regulations will ensure that top social networking sites will not gain additional, free, advertising by virtue of their size.