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France Prepares for a Twitterless Election

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 17 2012

French social media users may not post exit poll results of Sunday's election until after all polls close, and disobeying that rule could result in the cancellation of some results, according to French media reports cited by the Guardian and others. The French polling commission had confirmed that social media sites fall under current rules under which French media are prohibited from publishing polls or exit poll results between midnight on the Friday preceding election day until all voting stations have closed on Sunday, France 24 had reported earlier. This coming Sunday is the date of the first round of the presidential election between incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, and his opponent, François Hollande.

From the Guardian:

French law prohibits the media from publishing polls or exit surveys between midnight on the Friday before election day until all the voting stations have closed on Sunday - 8pm in cities and 6pm in towns. The French commission for opinion polls has ruled that Twitter and Facebook fall within the legal definition of media and are bound by the law.The Journal du Dimanche headlined an article about the situation: "Twitter fera-t-il bugger l'élection?" (Will Twitter crash the election?)

Canada had a similar regulation, but recently moved to abandon it.

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